Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

General discussion about Remington 870 shotgun.
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adamjohnson
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Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by adamjohnson » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:27 am

I've got a Remington 870 Express right now that I got as a teenager for hunting. I don't hunt at all now, and I'm in need of a decent home defense shotgun, so I figured I'd see what it would cost to convert it.
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What modifications should I look at making? I'm not a gunsmith by any means, so am I better off buying a new HD shotgun?

If you can provide links to the items you're recommending, I'd appreciate it... Thanks!
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Last edited by adamjohnson on Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jbur88
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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by jbur88 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:04 am

I mean it depends on what all you are wanting. You could just swap in a 18in barrel and call it a HD shotgun. do you want a light? side saddle? extended mag tube? The internals are all the same for the 870 models.
Rem 870 Tactical w/ Magpul stock, Forend, MS3 Sling and sling mount/Wilson Combat follower and spring/Vancomp big dome safety/Volquartsen Exact edge extractor/Heavy carrier spring/Elzetta Mount/ Streamlight polytac/Mesa Tactical poly Side saddle.

efriedrich
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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by efriedrich » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:33 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vceDJd7KrMw&t=14s

Start here, Synchronizor is a moderator on this site and he knows his way around an 870. These are great guns with lots of available accessories that won't break the bank. They are pretty easy to work on with basic tools and a little patience. Lots of good threads on this site to start looking through for ideas and information. Welcome and have fun. It could be as simple as selling your hunting barrel and buying a HD barrel with the proceeds. Look through the picture threads and see what catches your eye, most have a description of parts and brand names of their modifications.

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Synchronizor
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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by Synchronizor » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:32 am

Like others said, it depends on what exactly you want to do with this gun. For HD, your first step would probably be a short barrel; that's a simple drop-on part. Other common - but not always required - additions are a magazine extension, and a light.

DaveC
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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by DaveC » Wed May 16, 2018 2:07 am

In addition to the excellent recommendations already made, be sure the stock fit is good for the intended user. A stock that is too long will not be as optimal as one sized correctly. In my case, this required installation of a "youth" length of pull stock.
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by redgoat » Wed May 16, 2018 1:21 pm

KISS is a real world principle that works!

All the advice given above is spot on. Start with the basics. A shorter barrel is fundamental, a stock that fits the smallest person who will use the gun is also a basic requirement. If you are the only potential shooter of the gun and are over 5’ 6” tall, you can probably leave the stock alone, but a 13” length of pull “youth” stock really helps out, even for taller people. From that starting point, you can just start training with the gun and slowly add any accessories or changes as you find a real need. Avoid adding things just because they look “cool.” Understand the impact of each item you add or change, and actually shoot and train with that item to see if it will really work for you or against you.

The handling of an 870 with an 18 1/2 inch bead sighted barrel and an appropriate length stock, devoid of any other accessories, is like greased lightening to me. Once I start adding or changing other things, it really alters the “feel” of the gun for me in a negative way. Your mileage may vary. The handling or “feel” of a gun and your comfort level of being able to get hits _all_ on target quickly is a very individual thing.

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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by DaveC » Sat May 19, 2018 2:25 pm

Right-o. For example, my own Rem 870 Express gifted to me so I could do hunting and shotgun sports was configured for HD like so:

1) youth-size Choate pistol-grip stock. I chose a pistol-grip due to concerns about controlling it with one hand while operating door knobs, phones, etc. and while reloading the tube magazine with the shotgun pointed at the direction of the threat with my off-hand while maintaining a firing grip with the dominant hand. Nothing wrong at all with a standard, conventional layout stock! Length-of-pull is the only issue along with stock-cheek weld.
2) 18-1/2" cylinder bore barrel. In my case, this is Mossberg-mfr. for the 870. You may prefer a choke, perhaps an IC or something like that. You might prefer some type of sight, like rifle sights. There are "Hi-Viz" sights available, and the XS bead-type sight with a rear "V" notch that is quite wide. Mine is an exclusive buckshot gun, so I just have a bead.
3) A light is desirable. I opted for an EOTech integrated white light and action forearm/"pump handle."
4) Extra ammo is nice. I started out with a 6-round side-saddle, but decided it was too heavy and unbalanced, so I opted for a 4-round model. Still unbalanced, so it may or may not be a good option for your requirements.
5) I got an upgrade tube-magazine follower from one of the forum sponsors, and I can see it better, it is more sturdily constructed, and I can feel with my finger that it is different from a shot shell case head.

So there you have it, basically. Mine is even still a 4+1 shot magazine. Add-on magazine tubes and greater capacity are nice to have, but I frankly don't like the trade-offs of greater weight and altered balance, and my own security threat situation seems rather too benign to advocate for a much greater capacity. Your situation could well be different of course.

I don't use a sling because indoors it might snag on shelves, furniture, door knobs, etc. It stays in my hands and under my control. I don't have a perceived need to sling it and draw a secondary side-arm/handgun or what-have-you. Again, situational.

As always, pattern your gun with some of the loads you intend to use. Mine is phenomenal with Federal 00 buck. I've got Federal No.4 buck loaded in it right now for urban/ interior use. I also have some excellent Remington No. 1 buck. I keep a second shotgun in a safe with "out of doors/parking lot" ammo, and that one is pretty much "bone stock."
Alle Kunst ist umsonst, wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst.

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Synchronizor
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Re: Outfitting a Remington 870 Express for home defense

Post by Synchronizor » Sat May 19, 2018 11:02 pm

I'll echo the others; a plain-Jane 870 with an 18/18.5" fixed-choke barrel, a semi-grip stock, and a non-extended magazine is a very durable, reliable, and effective defensive tool with very little to go wrong. It's extremely quick and maneuverable due to the stock's versatile grip angle & lack of major protrusions, and the minimized weight up front. It's also an excellent base for you to practice with and get your fundamentals down before you start tacking on a bunch of accessories or changing other things that you may not really need.

The same setup with a +1 magazine extension is also very nice; single-piece +1s are very simple & robust, and are much less likely to experience malfunctions that can sometimes occur with other extended magazines. The short length also makes damage to the extension or magazine tube less likely in the event of rough handling, and has a much less pronounced impact on the gun's weight and balance than longer kits.

Extended magazines can be nice to have if you're anticipating real combat, but if you're simply looking for a practical and effective way to defend your home just in case, odds are 4+1 or 5+1 buckshot shells is plenty to send any random lowlifes looking for something worth drug money away with empty hands and full pants.

extensions cap comparison.JPG
A cap and a +1 extension in front of two +2s
extensions cap comparison.JPG (48.03 KiB) Viewed 1705 times
18_5meCss.jpg
18_5meCss.jpg (60.46 KiB) Viewed 1705 times

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