Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Tactical, combat, military, law enforcement and home defense use of a Remington 870 shotgun.
Lazarus
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Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Lazarus » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:46 am

I'm about to purchase of my first 870 in a 12-gauge, and I'm trying to ascertain which of the 25 variants of this shotgun are most amenable to customization for tactical/home defense, trap/skeet shooting, waterfowl/upland bird hunting. Basically, I'm interested in a single shotgun that can "do it all" with the appropriate upgrades/components. Accordingly, I've narrowed my options to the following models:

Model 870 Express Super Magnum Synthetic ( 1st choice, IF compatible with tactical upgrades )
Model 870 Express Synthetic
Model 870 Hardwood Home Defense (4-shot version)
Model 870 Express Combo

For the tactical build, I'm interested in a 7+1 ( or better yet, 8+1 ) capacity with black synthetic forearm and pistol grip/shoulder stock combo and rifled sights. I've been told that the Super Magnum's forearm overlaps the receiver when in the open-action position, which interferes with some aftermarket accessories ( don't know which ones ), but I like the fact that it can digest all shell sizes. I'm also uncertain if the Super Magnum is compatible with +3 shot ( or +4 shot if they exist ) magazine tube extensions, either Remington's or some other reputable manufacturer's. Finally, I'm not sure which barrel lengths are most suitable for trap/skeet shooting and waterfowl/upland bird hunting ( 26" or 28" ). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance!

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Synchronizor » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:12 am

If you want to be able to use the 3.5" shells for hunting, the SuperMag model would be the one to go with. It can accept any other standard 12ga 870 barrels, even if they only have a 3" or 2 3/4" chamber (obviously, the shells you can use will depend on the chamber length of the currently-installed barrel). Any 12ga stocks & fore-ends will still fit a SuperMag, though some tacti-cool folding or recoil-reducing stocks may not be up to the recoil of the 3.5" shells. Magazine extensions will fit just fine, 12ga mag tubes all use the same threads on the end. You'll have to remove mag tube dimples on a SuperMag, and either have a detent installed in the barrel or use a wave washer when you go back to a magazine cap for hunting or clays, but that's not a big deal.

To fit 7 or 8 shells in the tube, you're probably looking at a 20" barrel. You can get 7 shells under an 18.5" barrel, but most extension kits in that length range will need some tweaking to get there. 7 under a 20" barrel is easy, 8 takes some fiddling. Keep in mind that adding shells, and barrel & extension length is going to make a gun more nose-heavy. An 18" or 18.5" barrel with a 6+1 capacity is not at all a bad HD setup, and if you have to hold this shotgun on somebody for awhile until the cops arrive, you'll appreciate every ounce you saved.

The Express Super Magnum Synthetic is available with a 26" vent-rib Rem Choke barrel that would be a good choice as an all-around hunting & clays barrel. Maybe a bit long for turkeys or doubles skeet, but if you really get hard-core into something specific like that, you can always add other barrels. The stock and fore-end are basic-yet-functional; nothing fancy, but they'll get the job done. That stock will accept a pre-fit SuperCell recoil pad, which I would highly recommend if it doesn't already come with one. 2 3/4" field loads are bad enough with the solid rubber buttpad, 3.5" super magnums would be absolutely brutal.

As for the long fore-end, the main issue you may run into is having the fore-end hit a long 6- or 8-round sidesaddle shell carrier - really no big deal. If you decide a sidesaddle is worth the extra weight & complexity, you can change to a different fore-end, or simply chop the existing fore-end down. Or you can compromise on the weight, and get a smaller 4-round sidesaddle that lets you keep using a long fore-end. I've found that a long fore-end is actually kind of nice to have. It may not look tactical, since we're used to seeing Police 870s with short fore-ends that fit cruiser gun racks, but the extra length gives you more room to grab onto, protects the mag tube, and makes it less likely that a loose grip will result in a short-stroke.

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by safetyfast » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:43 pm

I would go with a 28" barrel for an all around gun. Lots of pros shoot 32" barrel for Skeet now.


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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Synchronizor » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:12 am

safetyfast wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:43 pm
I would go with a 28" barrel for an all around gun. Lots of pros shoot 32" barrel for Skeet now.
Isn't the 32" length with a break-action, though? In a pump like the 870, the receiver & action adds length and mass compared to a break-action, so the same swing would be had with a significantly shorter barrel.

In any case, the choice of barrel length for skeet has always been a combination of personal preference, and what's currently the "style". The former is obviously the most important. I haven't spent much time shooting skeet, trap's generally been more my game, but I have tried both singles & doubles skeet with a 28" vent-rib barrel on my 870, and I found it pretty unwieldy when swinging for that second clay. Again, I'm really not that experienced at the game, so take that opinion as coming from an amateur. My 28" definitely feels a bit awkward in the thicker woods around here though, so I would probably still stick to my recommendation for the 26" barrel as a good all-arounder.

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by safetyfast » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:02 am

Synchronizor wrote:
safetyfast wrote:
Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:43 pm
I would go with a 28" barrel for an all around gun. Lots of pros shoot 32" barrel for Skeet now.
Isn't the 32" length with a break-action, though? In a pump like the 870, the receiver & action adds length and mass compared to a break-action, so the same swing would be had with a significantly shorter barrel.

In any case, the choice of barrel length for skeet has always been a combination of personal preference, and what's currently the "style". The former is obviously the most important. I haven't spent much time shooting skeet, trap's generally been more my game, but I have tried both singles & doubles skeet with a 28" vent-rib barrel on my 870, and I found it pretty unwieldy when swinging for that second clay. Again, I'm really not that experienced at the game, so take that opinion as coming from an amateur. My 28" definitely feels a bit awkward in the thicker woods around here though, so I would probably still stick to my recommendation for the 26" barrel as a good all-arounder.
True about the break action versus pump. My son used to shoot a 28" 1100 for Skeet and I know quite a few others that do as well and broke many a 25.


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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:43 am

Synchronizer and safetyfast, thank you both very much for your responses. After much consideration, I've decided to forgo the dubious advantage of a shotgun that can handle 3.5" shells, and stick with one that's readily compatible with Remington's barrels and magazine extensions, without having to worry about removing magazine tube dimples. I've settled on the Model 870 Express Tactical, which comes with the +2-shot magazine extension and, according to Remington Support, is readily compatible with other 870 barrels. I'm now in the process of narrowing down which style of pistol grip I want. Accordingly, I'm considering the following choices, and would appreciate any feedback you might have :

1. Blackhawk® Knoxx SpecOps Stock Gen III: http://blackhawk.com/products/long-gun- ... n-iii.aspx

2. Mesa Tactical LEO® Telescoping Stock: https://mesatactical.com/products/leo-t ... 870-12-ga/

Finally, I wanted to know if you recommend the use of Remington's factory magazine extensions over aftermarket products (e.g., Nordic Components, TacStar, etc.). Remington also has law enforcement versions of their magazine extension kits, and I'm wondering if those are higher quality than the "standard" kits that Remington sells. Thank you again for your valuable input!

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Synchronizor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:51 pm

Sounds good. Just make sure that what you're getting has a base 4-round magazine tube and a separate magazine extension, and not the single-piece 6-round magazine tube. It sounds like you're aware of this, but a lot of gun shop employees don't understand this distinction and will unintentionally try to steer you wrong, so make sure you're getting the right thing.

I would give the gun a try with the factory stock before dropping a Benjamin or two on either of the aftermarket numbers you linked to. The 870's controls work really well with a traditional semi-grip stock, and the gun is nicely maneuverable with that grip angle. You may want to upgrade the recoil pad, but that's pretty cheap.

If you do decide you want a more tacti-cool stock, I would strongly recommend hitting up a rental range and trying to see if you can shoot one or both before spending the money. The Blackhawk stock is pretty complicated, and a lot of folks don't care for how they shoot. And the complete lack of a recoil pad on the AR-15 stock used by the Mesa Tactical is not going to be comfortable with 12ga recoil.

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Lazarus » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:11 am

Great idea, but sadly there's only one gun range within 50 miles of my residence that rents guns, and then only handguns. I was leaning towards the Blackhawk stock for the following reasons:

1. Remington LE uses them ( specifically the GEN II stocks ) on their 870P shotguns. I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that if Remington offers them as an upgrade for their 870P line, they can't be all that bad.

http://www.remingtonle.com/shotguns/870synthetic.htm

2. They're currently available for $99.99 (normally $159.99) from LA Police Gear. This vendor has a fairly liberal return policy, so assuming I purchased one and didn't care for it, I could probably return it.

http://www.lapolicegear.com/bpg-k38701- ... 9.15009450

With regards to the shotgun itself, I'm certain that it uses the "standard" 4-round magazine tube with the factory installed 2-shot extension (at least the one I examined at a local vendor did).

https://www.remington.com/shotguns/pump ... s-tactical

I also have a Limbsaver slip-on recoil pad, just in case I end up needing it!

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Bourget117 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:31 pm

Lazarus wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:11 am
Great idea, but sadly there's only one gun range within 50 miles of my residence that rents guns, and then only handguns. I was leaning towards the Blackhawk stock for the following reasons:

1. Remington LE uses them ( specifically the GEN II stocks ) on their 870P shotguns. I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that if Remington offers them as an upgrade for their 870P line, they can't be all that bad.

http://www.remingtonle.com/shotguns/870synthetic.htm

2. They're currently available for $99.99 (normally $159.99) from LA Police Gear. This vendor has a fairly liberal return policy, so assuming I purchased one and didn't care for it, I could probably return it.

http://www.lapolicegear.com/bpg-k38701- ... 9.15009450

With regards to the shotgun itself, I'm certain that it uses the "standard" 4-round magazine tube with the factory installed 2-shot extension (at least the one I examined at a local vendor did).

https://www.remington.com/shotguns/pump ... s-tactical

I also have a Limbsaver slip-on recoil pad, just in case I end up needing it!
Have you thought about a Hougue stock and forend? Looks like a traditional set up but has many improvements over the stock Remington set. I swapped out my Remington stock and forend after shooting with it once. It's much nicer now with the Hogue.

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Re: Need Advice Regarding New 870 Tactical/Hunting Build

Post by Synchronizor » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:05 am

If you'll have the option to return it, go ahead and give it a try. Some folks really like those stocks, and you may be one of them. I would still recommend taking the gun out in stock form before adding anything to it, though. Break it in, get to know it, and make sure it's working properly before adding aftermarket stuff.

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