Just read the Remington 870 Owners' Manual. Commandment 8 reads "before loading....check barrel for obstruction". Hmmmm. ... How is this done on a shotgun? Also, in this country - before obtaining a Fire Arm License - we are obliged to attend a 3 hour "Safety Course". The Instructor warned of the danger of getting rain drops down the barrel = done by holding 'pointed_up' during rain. The suggestion was that this could lead to the barrel exploding. (He wasn't specifically talking of shotguns). Waddya reckon?