81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

General discussion about Remington 870 shotgun.
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portsample
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81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by portsample » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:10 am

I'm getting ready to purchase one of the tactical 870's for brown bear defense and wanted to check my logic here. I am looking primarily at the 25077 style gun: 18-1/2" barrel, plastic stock, extended magazine with fixed cylinder choke and single bead sights. However, I am wondering that if I get this one, am I going to regret not getting the 81198 Express Tactical with the Rem Choke and ghost ring sights? This gun will be used almost exclusively with slugs. Does the Rem Choke get removed when slugs are used? Can the ghost sight be swapped out for something else if I don't like it and find that the pickatinny rail catches twigs and stuff?

As previously stated, I'm leaning toward the plain jane 25077 and just want to make sure I'm not missing something here.
Thanks in advance.

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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzley bear deterrence

Post by Synchronizor » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:51 am

portsample wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:10 am
Does the Rem Choke get removed when slugs are used?
No, never fire a shotgun without a choke tube installed. The extended "Tactical" breacher choke that comes on the #81198 is just a cylinder tube, and it'll shoot any slugs fine. But it makes the gun longer and heavier purely for cool points, so it's something you'd probably want to replace with a flush or shorter extended choke tube for your application.
portsample wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:10 am
Can the ghost sight be swapped out for something else if I don't like it and find that the pickatinny rail catches twigs and stuff?
You can take the rear sight & rail off the receiver, but then you'll want to buy plug screws for the holes left in the receiver. You're stuck with the front blade sight on the barrel though, unless you get a gunsmith to sweat it off and solder on something else, or buy a completely different barrel.


If this is just for bear defense, I would keep it simple and go with the #25077 over the #81198. Less to go wrong, less to snag on brush or gear, and less to wrap your head around in a stressful situation. A bead sight is fast and easy to get on target, and can be a lot more accurate than folks give it credit for. With decent ammo some practice to learn where to hold, you should be able to reliably get slugs onto a bear-sized target out to 50+ yards. The fixed cylinder choke is tough, reliable, and all you need for slugs; interchangeable chokes are nice for some things, but they also make the muzzle more vulnerable to damage, can come loose under recoil, and are a potential weak point if not maintained. There's a reason Remington has stuck with old-school simple fixed chokes on the majority of their Police 870 models.

Keep in mind that the Expresses have a pretty basic finish. If this is just riding around in a truck, it should be fine, but if it's getting dragged through rain & snow on a regular basis, you'll need to stay on top of it with the oil. Other higher-dollar 870 lines such as the Police or Marine Magnum have models with similar features to the Express #25077, but more resilient finishing. Or you could just go with the Express, and if you start having trouble, you could have it re-done in Cerakote or something.

Also the current #25077 models are built on special receivers with long, single-piece extended mag tubes; which are different from the guns with standard receivers and separate magazine extensions. For a dedicated bear defense gun, that's not a problem - the extra simplicity is probably a benefit, actually. But be aware that you won't be able to just drop a different barrel onto this receiver and go bird hunting like you can with most other 870 models.

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portsample
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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by portsample » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:20 am

Most excellent information, some of which I had already suspected. I'll probably go with the 25077 and put the money that I've saved towards nice field accessories and maintenance items. Thanks Synchronizer.

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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by efriedrich » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:01 am

If I need a shotgun for fing Grizzley's I would carry one of these 7+1 3 inch slugs, reliable, soft shooting semi automatic
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portsample
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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by portsample » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:26 pm

efriedrich wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:01 am
If I need a shotgun for fing Grizzley's I would carry one of these 7+1 3 inch slugs, reliable, soft shooting semi automatic
Standard for the company that I work for is the Rem 870.

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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by Synchronizor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:35 am

The Versa Max is a nice shotgun, but that model has a 22" barrel plus the dumb extended choke, the unneeded top rail, limited stock options, and an MSRP edging up toward $1500. It wouldn't be my first recommendation for this application.

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Re: 81198 versus 25077: Choosing an 870 for grizzly (brown) bear deterrence

Post by vba » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:39 pm

I have an 870 Tactical with the Ghost Sights and breecher barrel choke. I took this off and put an IC choke tube on it. I shoot mostly slugs as well and this setup is accurate and works fine.

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