870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Discussion of the Remington 870 for hunting.
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870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:22 pm

I have a 870 Express Tactical with the short (18.5 inches I think) barrel. It shoots slugs well, I can get a decent grouping at 50 or so yards. However with buckshot (I typically buy 00) I am lucky to get half the pellets on paper at 20-25 yards. I would like to find an aftermarket choke(s) to tighten up the shot parttern when firing buckshot.

But first, can someone tell me what type of choke is on my gun now? It is the factory installed "breaching" choke. I always figured it was cyclinder bore. However one of the guys at my local gun shop told me that, no, it is an IMPROVED cyclinder choke. After doing some online research it seems that, yes, you can shoot slugs out of an improved cyclinder choke. That being said, I am pretty sure my 870 is not and rather is cyclinder bore (0% restriction). Can anyone set the record straight here?

Moving on, regardless of what choke my gun came with from the factory, it is easily removable and I am hoping to find another choke(s) that I can substitute for the breaching choke when I want to shoot buck/bird shot. Can anyone reccomend a good product for my gun? Ideally I would like to find a kit that comes with an improved, modified and full choke so I can experiment with different ammo, distances, etc and figure out what I like.

At another gun shop one of the staff told me that since my gun has such a short barrel (18.5 inches I believe) there was no point in messing around with various chokes as only a longer barrel would fix the issue. To me this sounds like balloney. Assuming I can get different chokes for this gun, and they are not stupid expensive, I would like to buy them and hopefully tighten up my buckshot pattern a lot.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by Synchronizor » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:49 pm

Wow, you got hit with quite a bit of gun shop misinformation there. To clear things up:

First, Remington's breaching chokes are straight Cylinder tubes, not Improved Cylinder. If you take the tube out, it should say "CYLINDER" right on the side.

Second, barrel length does not fundamentally change the way patterning works. A longer barrel may increase the velocity of the shot slightly, which can indirectly influence patterning, but with fast-burning modern powders any differences are usually minor unless you're dealing with extremely short barrels. So, assuming the bore diameter and ammunition are the same, you can expect a given choke to be just as effective in an 18.5" barrel as it is in a 28" barrel. In some cases, you'll actually see a tighter pattern with the shorter barrel. Many law enforcement and military shotguns use IC or Modified chokes to increase their effective range with buckshot.

Finally, common Foster-style (or "rifled") slugs can be fired through chokes without a problem. These slugs are made from soft lead, and have external ribs that reduce the amount of surface area in contact with the barrel, so they can squeeze through chokes just fine. Some ammo manufacturers recommend IC or Modified chokes for best results with their slugs, and plenty of hunters used Foster slugs in full-choked shotguns back before interchangeable chokes became popular. Most other types of slugs are also made from soft, deformable alloys, or if not, are undersized and held in a plastic sabot to protect the barrel and choke. There are some specialty slugs that may not play well with tighter chokes though, so when in doubt, just check the ammo packaging for warnings or recommendations.


With that cleared up, you can find basic flush-mount hunting chokes for pretty cheap, probably $15 - $20 each on store shelves, and often less if you look for deals online or wait for retail sales. I don't know if you'll be able to find all three of the tubes you're looking for in one pack, but even if you have to get one or more separately, IC, Mod, & Full are about the easiest constrictions to find. Just make sure the tubes are the "Rem Choke" type; some Remington shotguns are overbored, and use a different "ProBore" choke system that isn't compatible with 870s.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:47 pm

Synchronizer, thank you very much for that informative reply! I thought my choke was cyclinder bore, thank you for clearing that up. I actually did not notice that the choke says "cyclinder" on it but when I am home later I'm going to unthread it from the barrel and take a look.

Also thank you for clearing up the misinformation I was being fed about barrel length and shot patterning. It sounds like I will be just fine with my shorter barrel and a different choke(s). I get what you said about "Rem choke" products being compatibelw with my gun, that beings said is there a paticular brand you'd reccomend? It seems like Vang is a popular.

Interesting info about the different types of slugs (sabot, etc). I've always stuck with the same ammo since I bought the gun 2 years ago, which is Federal power shock. There are only a few places where I live to buy ammo and this is what they typically stock. My gun seems to like it and I get pretty good accuracy out of the slugs. At 50-60 yards I can hit a pumkin sized target (I have ghost sights, which helps a lot). Just with buckshot it flys everywhere which it why I want to get some extra chokes for it.

I just joined this site and noticed there is another thread wher users are posting pics of their 870. I'll toss up some pics of mine soon. I have it outfitted nicely with a Mesa Tactical LEO AR-15 style butt stock with recoil spring, Mesa Tactical 6 shell side saddle, and a few other goodies :D

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by Synchronizor » Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:42 am

squibload wrote:I get what you said about "Rem choke" products being compatibelw with my gun, that beings said is there a paticular brand you'd reccomend? It seems like Vang is a popular.
For inexpensive flush-mount chokes that you can easily find in your local stores or online, you'll probably end up with OEM Remington or Carlson's tubes. I own tubes from both manufacturers, and haven't found anything to complain about so far.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:56 pm

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Remington-Cho ... e/24182935

Found this choke combo online. One weird thing...on the front of the package is says "Imp. cyclinder and full choke," and, you can clearly see there are two chokes in the packaging. So it seems reasonable to assume that you get one imp. cycliner and one full choke. HOWEVER, if you look at the other picture available, is shows two chokes that both say "full." WTF?! It would be ridiculous to get two chokes that are the same...I'm sure I'm tierd and over thinking this...anyone care to chime in here? I suppouse I could email REmington and ask them.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by Synchronizor » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:31 am

It looks like that one image was just hacked together by someone who didn't know much about shotguns. I've seen those upgrade packs at Wal-Mart, and I'm pretty sure I remember one of the tubes having the dark gold heat-treated appearance of a steel-capable Remington Full tube, and the other being the plain stainless. In any case, if the packaging is labeled "IC & Full", I would expect the to be just that.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:28 am

I would be inclined to agree. The package does clearly state that it comes with the 2 different chokes. Unfurtunatley it is on back order at the current time and the US Walmart I go to from time to time (Bellingham) also shows zero in stock.

I've been looking on some other sites, Cabela's andf so on, and found this one I like the looks of on the US (.com) Cabela's website. Of course it is not available on the Canadian site (groan...). I could order it to Sumas and pick it up nop problem.

Any opinion on this one?

It appears to be designed for the type of ammo I am having paterning issues with (00 and 000 buck).

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Carlsons ... l+Products

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by Synchronizor » Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:36 pm

A constriction is a constriction. Unless there's something else going on inside that tube (and I'd expect them to advertise it, if there was), I don't see how it would make just any buckshot load pattern better than another tube with a similar constriction. Also, when a manufacturer markets a choke tube as having a "super-optimized-miracle-whatever" constriction, and then won't tell you what that constriction is, I can't help but think that they're just trying to get more money out of you.

I also don't much buy into the idea of ported choke tubes reducing recoil or muzzle flip. Since ported choke tubes almost always have holes that are are perpendicular to the bore and evenly distributed about the tube's circumference, even if the escaping gas did exert an appreciable amount of force, everything would simply be canceled out.

I will say that extended, knurled choke tubes are nice because you can tighten or loosen them by hand without having to stick your finger in the dirty interior. They can also be visibly labeled, so you can see what choke you have installed without having to pull it out. So for those reasons alone, if you have the extra money to spend, they're a nice upgrade over the basic flush chokes.

Image

But you don't have to spend $45 - $50; if you skip questionable frills like porting, you can get good, effective extended choke tubes for $30 - $40, or even down into the $20 range if you take advantage of sales or online auctions. I found a brand-new Remington Wingmaster HD extended choke on Ebay for just $18 plus free shipping, and its relatively open .725" constriction (intended to throw an Improved Cylinder pattern with hard nontoxic shot, but more of a Skeet constriction with normal lead) makes it a great all-around choke for slugs, close-range defense with buckshot, and shooting hand-thrown clays for fun.

Image

Those prices are all in USD, by the way. I know CAD is a little different.

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:53 am

Synchronizor, thanks a lot for the info! I'm going to order up a few different ones. What the heck they are not that expensive. Appreciate all the help :D

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Re: 870 Express Tactical: Good aftermarket choke(s)?

Post by squibload » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:55 pm

Have not been on this site for a while, apologies. So just a quick update:

The choke I ended up buying was this one from Cabelas.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Carlsons ... l+Products

To judge how well it performs in my 870 Express Tactical I set up two full size silhouette targets at about 15 yards, and another two at about 30 yards. For all tests I was using 2 and 3/4 00 buck.

At 15 yards aiming direct center of mass I had 6/9 pellets on paper. Not bad I guess. At 30 yards I had 5/9 on paper but some were just on paper, and you could tell the shot pattern was starting to widen out a fair bit. Some pellets were in the crotch area and some in the head/neck.

With the cyclinder bore choke out and the Calson's choke in the difference was very noticable. At 15 yards I was 9/9 and the parttern was pretty tight in the center of mass about the size of a large dinner plate. At 30 yards I again was 9/9 and the shot pattern had spread to about a 14-16 inch diameter.

Conclusion is this choke works well for what I wanted with was to tighten up my shot pattern with buckshot. There are other chokes for cheaper I honestly just thought this one looked cool + it had good reviews.

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