Remington 870 Barrels Complete Guide
The two most common Remington 870 barrels are either the rifled barrel or the smoothbore. Rifled barrels are good for shooting sabot slugs like Premier Accutip Slug, Copper Solid Slug etc. These are the kind of barrels you would use if you are aiming to kill someone or something on a longer distance. Perhaps you want to looking to kill a big predator in the woods. These barrels help you have more stability and accuracy with your shots in order to do this kind of damage. If you are looking for a long range shotgun then rifled barrels would be your best option as well. As for smoothbore barrels, these are more suitable for rifled slugs, birdshot and buckshot. In other words, if you are looking to hunt small ducks or birds hen you would be better off using smoothbore.
Remington 870 barrels photo by glwanabe from Remington 870 Forum
The neat thing about newer shotguns is they have interchangeable barrels. This means you don’t have to limit yourself to just one type of barrel when you purchase a shotgun. If you wanted to use your shotgun for different purposes then you could switch back and forth between the smoothbore, rifled, long or short barrel. This is very convenient for those who just want to own one shotgun to use for both home protection and hunting ducks for sport. Now if you have an older shotgun that only has smoothbore, for example, then you can still shoot slugs out of it. The only thing is the shots won’t go as far and they won’t be as accurate as special slugs from rifled barrel. That is why the ammunition you use in your shotgun is just as important to figure out as the barrel itself. If you use the wrong shotgun ammunition with smoothbore or rifled then you won’t get the results that you intend on getting. However, if you are purchasing your first shotgun then chances are it is a new shotgun that allows you to change the barrels. If you buy them new from a gun dealer then they will recommend the best ammunition to use also.
Length of a barrel
There are barrels of different length available for Remington 870. They are interchangeable execpt for the Tactical model.
Poll: What is barrel length of your Remington 870? 18 inch? 20 inch? Shorter or Longer?
This is going to be very interesting! What is barrel length of your Remington 870?
Remington 870 Barrels
One of the popular questions I receive is about Remington 870 barrels. Many readers ask what is the best Remington 870 barrel and why.
First of all, there are different barrels for different purposes. Long vented rib barrel is good for hunting, clays, trap shooting but not suitable for home defense. The longer the barrel the more difficult it is to manouevre in close quarters.
Barrels with chokes are also good for competition, hunting and trap. Some shotgun owners use Tactical chokes which enable them to use Remington 870 as breaching shotgun. Actually, I don’t know where can they use their breaching choke but it definitely looks cool.
ATTENTION! Remington 870 Barrels are Out of Stock Everywhere But You Can Still Get Aftermarket Barrels
Aftermarket Remington 870 Barrels – CARLSONS – 18.5″ Shotgun Barrels
Brownells has listed very interesting aftermarket barrels for Remington 870. Short barrel with the option of changing chokes makes shotgun more versatile. You can control spread using chokes which is important for hunting and home-defense. Tighter pattern is very good idea for a home defense shotgun.
This Remington 870 barrel is Constructed from ordnance grade 4140 steel. Chrome lined bores makes these barrels better than factory ones.
18.5” barrel length is the most popular choice for home defense shotgun.
Also, you can choose Carlsons Remington 870 barrel with non-adjustable front sight or adjustable sights
Includes installed Carlson cylinder choke tube. Choke tube is constructed of 17-4 stainless steel. Remington barrels are threaded for the standard Rem Choke system
JonSEAZ, one of the Rem870.com readers shared his experience with Remington 870 Carlsons barrels:
“I recently bought one of these barrels and an array of Carlson screw-in chokes. At this point, I could not be any happier with it. A very nice barrel, inside and out. The one I received fit my 870 perfectly; the exterior finish flawless; the chrome-lined bore nicely done; the threading cleanly cut and the chokes screw in and out nicely; overall, a very nice barrel which now allows me to play with different chokes on a nominally defensive shotgun.
I would recommend this barrel to anyone wanting the option of changing chokes on an 18.5″ barrel.”
|Get Carlson’s 18.5″ Barrels on Brownells|
Carlson’s Remington 870 12-gauge Vented Rib, 26″ and 28″, 3″ Chamber Barrels
Several more barrels from Carlson’s company, now longer 26” and 28” length. The most significant advantage of the barrels from this company is that they are chrome lined. This means that they are much easier for cleaning, maintenance and increased barrel life. Of course, shotgun barrels are not that easy to “shoot out,” but it is better to know that your chrome-lined barrel has a longer life span.
Corrosion and rust resistance are another two benefits you get with these barrels.
Vent Rib barrels come with a Carlson Modified choke tube installed and are threaded for the Remington 870® standard Rem Choke. Wrench tube included.
Carlson’s barrels have very good feedback and will make your standard shotgun suitable for hunting, clay or competition shooting.
|Get Carlson’s Vented Rib, 26″ and 28″ Barrels on Brownells|
Remington 870 18″ bead sight barrel
The most popular barrel is the Remington 870 18″ bead sight barrel. It is short, simple and inexpensive.
This short barrel enables you to easily manouevre around the house. It is possible to change the factory bead with light gathering or Tritium one.
|You can get this barrel on Brownells|
This barrel is universal tool which is good for almost any purpose. Of course, longer barrel will be better for hunting and ghost ring sights will be better for home defense. But 18″ bead sight barrel enables you to do almost all tasks. It is good choice for beginners or for people that want to have only one shotgun for home defense and for week end clay shooting.
Barrel which is shorter than 18″ usually requires special license.
Remington 870 26″, REM Choke, Vent Rib barrel with Mid-Bead
If you are hunter or serious competition shooter, you won’t regret getting long Remington 870 26″, REM Choke, Vent Rib barrel with Mid-Bead.
Why this barrel is good for hunting and competition? Let’s have a closer look at it. First of all it enables you to hit the targets on longer distances because of the 26″ length. Also, this Remington 870 barrel enables you to change chokes for different type of the game and sport shooting. Bead sight with midlle bead enables you to check your sight picture and have more stable results. Of course the price you pay for all these advantages is additional barrel length.
|You can get this barrel on Brownells|
Remington 870 18″, Police Barrel with Rifle Sights, IMP CYL
And my favourite Remington 870 barrel: Remington 870 18″, Police Barrel with Rifle Sights, IMP CYL.
This barrel is short and has rifle sights. This makes this barrel extremely easy to aim especially when shooting slugs. This is my personal preference but you may like ghost ring sights more. Good thing about this barrel is that you can replace rear and front sights with many aftermarket sights without drilling and tapping.
|You can get this barrel on Brownells|
Mossberg Barrels for Remington 870
You will be surprised but Mossberg company manufactures barrels for Remington 870.
Mossberg Remington 870 24″ Slug Shotgun Barrel w/ Cantilever Mount, 12-Gauge
This Mossberg factory barrel for Remington 870 shotgun is for those who want to shoot slugs. It is called the Mossberg Remington 870 24” Slug Shotgun Barrel. This barrel will make your existing Mossberg Remington 870 shotgun a lot more flexible in the ammunition that it can shoot successfully from the barrel. It is manufactured to meet the same size specifications as the factory barrel. This means you should have no problems fitting this new barrel onto your existing shotgun.
The Slug Shotgun Barrel is 24 inches in length and is made for 12-gauge ammunition, particularly slugs. The barrel is rifled in a way which allows slugs to be very accurate. Although you could probably get away with shooting birdshot ammunition, it is not recommended with this barrel. This barrel is made for shooting slugs at your targets, whatever they may be. Most shotgun owners will use slugs for hunting big wildlife in the woods. If you were to shoot smaller animals with slugs, then it would completely obliterate them.
The Slug Shotgun Barrel is made of steel and has a blue matte finish. It also has a 3-inch chamber and is rifled with a 1:36” twist.
For those interested in scope attachments, this barrel has a mount for an integral cantilever scope. After you attach the scope, you will easily be able to improve your accuracy while shooting slugs. And don’t forget, slugs do a lot more critical damage to the target after they strike. As a hunter, you might appreciate this fact because it will at least kill the animal quickly rather than causing it to suffer. You just have to make sure you hit the animal in the right areas on their bodies, which is why it is important to be accurate with the help of a scope mounted on.
The Slug Shotgun Barrel has a retail price of $229. As you know, it is very easy to replace the barrel.
|Get Mossberg Remington 870 24″ Slug Shotgun Barrel w/ Cantilever Mount on Brownells|
Mossberg Rem 870 18.5″ Bead Sight Smooth Cylinder
The Remington 870 shotgun can have many uses. A lot of people like to use it in the field when they’re hunting or shooting at targets. However, there may come a time when you want to use the shotgun for home defense more than anything else. In that case, you probably wouldn’t want to be stuck with the current barrel that exists on there right now. You might find it better to upgrade the barrel to the Mossberg Remington 870 18.5” Bead Sight Smooth Cylinder Bore barrel.
What is so special about this barrel? Well, for starters, it is 18.5 inches long and has fixed cylinder choke. This means you will not be able to remove the choke and replace it with another choke. You must use the cylinder bore choke for all your shots. If you use buckshot or birdshot with the smooth cylinder bore, it is better to be closer to your target because the pellets will spread out quickly.
The Mossberg Rem 870 18.5″ Bead Sight Smooth Cylinder Bore is a 12-gauge barrel with a 3-inch chamber. It is made from steel and contains a blue finish. This will ensure that it stays durable in extreme environments and under tough weather conditions.
The price of the Mossberg Rem 870 18.5″ Bead Sight Smooth Cylinder Bore barrel is $99.97. The only thing you’ll have to do is remove the old barrel from your shotgun and replace it with the new one.
|Get Mossberg Rem 870 18.5″ Bead Sight Smooth Cylinder on Brownells|
Bead sight is very simple but rifle sights are more accurate. Rifle sights are accurate but ghost ring sights enable shooter to aim faster.
Changing sights sometimes requires special tools and drilling and tapping, so it is better to choose the sights you need from the beginning.
Middle bead sight helps you to aim and check if you proper sigt picture. It is very useful addition for competition or hunting shotgun.
There are many barrels available for the Remington 870 and you can choose the one you like more.
Remington 870 Tactical Replacement Barrel Problem and how to fix it with spacer
So I have this 870 express tactical but it’s the version that doesn’t have sights or added magazine extension.
I recently bought a 21″ vent rib barrel with choke in hopes to do some turkey hunting this coming season. The problem is my shotgun has the extended magazine tube but it’s one piece so the cap is all the way at the end. With this 21″ barrel the guide ring that goes around the tube is further down than the stock barrel and the cap doesn’t hold the barrel in place.
My question is, is there anyway I can use this barrel with this gun? Would a barrel clamp do the trick in keeping the barrel in place or can I just not use this barrel. I know this gun is meant for home defense but I was hoping to be able to make it an all around use kind of gun.
Here’s a pic of the two barrels so you can see how the guide rings are in different places.
Remington 870 Spacer for Tactical Models with One-piece 6 Round Magazine Tube
“The only barrels made for 870s with the long, single-piece magazine tubes are 18.5″ HD-style barrels. If you want something besides that for your gun, you’ll have to have some custom work done to modify a standard barrel. I wouldn’t recommend just sticking a chunk of pipe or tubing over the magazine tube, for obvious reasons. A purpose-built spacer would probably be possible, but unless you have a machine shop in your garage, it’s not going to be cheap.”
This information is very important because every buyer should understand: one piece magazine tube makes feeding more reliable but that model accepts only barrels designed specially for Tactical model.
Remington sells a spacer, part number F402819. Sells for $22.39. Just call their customer service line and select parts. Takes 7-10 days.
Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Deer Barrel and Remington Premier AccuTip Sabot Slug Ammunition
The Remington 870 Express is the most popular pump-action shotguns in the world. People use it for all sorts of purposes, such as self-defense, target shooting, and hunting. The factory barrel of the Remington 870 Express makes the weapon suitable for any purpose. However, the Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Deer Barrel is a replacement barrel which enables you to shoot further and to be more accurate.
For example, When you hunt deer in the wilderness, it requires your shotgun to have longer effective range of the shots. The Fully Rifled Deer Barrel upgrade will provide your Remington 870 Express shotgun with this kind of versatility that is needed.
Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Deer Barrel
The Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Deer Barrel features front rifle sight and rear rifle sight but you can get optic sight to be able to shoot further. The barrel itself is 20 inches in length and can be easily maneuvered for better handling in an intense situation. The chamber is 3 inches which means that it can support 3 inches shotshells too. It allows you to experiment with different ammunition until you find the one that works for you.
The Fully Rifled Deer Barrel will be no problem for you to install onto your existing Remington 870 Express pump-action shotgun. The specifications of the rifled barrel are the same as the specifications of the factory barrel. Therefore, once you remove the factory barrel from the weapon, you just drop in the rifled barrel in its place. It should fit perfectly into the weapon without having any issues. Check the instructions which come with the barrel to learn the steps of this basic installation process. They are very simple to follow, so don’t think that you need to be a gunsmith to figure it out. Once you learn to do it the first time, it will be simple to do again in the future.
There are two versions of the Remington 870 Express Fully Rifled Barrel available. One version is for a 20-gauge shotgun and the other is for a 12-gauge. The 20-gauge version of the barrel is priced at $188.99 on the Brownells online store. The price of the 12-gauge version is $219.99. Both barrel versions have a black color, so they will be aesthetically compatible with your Express 870. The weight of the barrel is about 2 ½ pounds. This is about the same weight as the factory barrel. For this reason, you should not feel too much of a difference there while holding your weapon.
|Get fully rifled Remington 870 barrel on Brownells|
What do the markings on the barrel of my Remington 870 Mean?
Remington Premier AccuTip Sabot Slug Ammunition
Remington Premier AccuTip Bonded Sabot Slug Ammunition is certainly original as far as slugs go. These slugs are made specially for rifled shotgun barrels. They are specially tipped for high accuracy and performance in the field. AccuTip refers to this technology as the Power Port tip, which they have trademarked. Whether you are shooting the slug at 5 yards or 200 yards away from your target, it will shoot in the precise direction where you want it to go. This aspect can be attributed to its spiral nose which keeps it moving far in one direction. The recoil of this slug is stronger but this is the price you pay for the accuracy on long distances.
It is advertised to have a huge permanent wound channel but i didn’t have a chance to test it on hunting.
High speed of the slug is particularly helpful if you’re shooting at a moving target, such as a deer.
The AccuTip Sabot Slug is available in 3 inches and 2 ¾ inches. The ammunition is compatible with 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns which have rifled barrels on them. If your current shotgun does not have rifled barrels, then you can always upgrade your existing factory barrel to a rifled one. If you’re trying to turn your shotgun into a slug gun for shooting deer, then a shotgun with a rifled barrel is the most popular choice. Hunters find the rifled barrel is the most accurate when it comes to shooting sophisticated slugs like these.
The cost of a 5-round box of 12-gauge AccuTip Sabot Slugs that are 2.75 inches is $14.49. If you go for the 3-inch ammunition for the same gauge, it is $16.49. If you choose the 20-gauge ammunition, this only has 3-inch ammunition available. A 5-round box of those is $16.49. You can purchase this ammunition at sporting goods stores. If you find the ammunition to your liking after you try it out, you could possibly find a discount on a bulk purchase of this ammunition.
Accutip Slugs on 50 Meters (54 yards) with Fully Rifled Barrel
Group size: 2.8″ (72mm)
Accutip Slugs on 100 Meters (109 yards) with Fully Rifled Barrel
Group size: 4.5″ (115mm)
|Get Remington Premier AccuTip Sabot Slug Ammunition on Brownells|
Shooting Slugs Out Of a Smooth and Rifled Barrel
You can shoot any type slug out of a smooth bore barrel, but there is debate on accuracy when using a choke or rifled choke. A Foster slug or what some call an America slug, is designed for a smooth bore barrel. The slug has a deep hollow in the back that allows the center of gravity to be in the front. This stabilizes the slug in flight so it can right its self if it begins to tumble or spin. The typical range is 75 yards.
The newer Foster slugs will have grooves or rifling cut into the slug to reduce wind drag and friction along the barrel. The cuts do not cause the round to spin as it comes out of the smooth bore however. You can fire Foster slugs through a rifled barrel but they can “foul” the barrel to some extent by lead building up along the rifling. Keep the choke open to cut down on wear and tear of the choke and to maintain accuracy. The lead in the slugs will not appreciably wear the rifling down because it is much softer than the barrel material. Steel buckshot or birdshot will however wear the rifling down over time.
Some shooters ask can you shoot a slug from a smooth bore. The answer is of course you can. Smooth bores are not just for buckshot or birdshot.
Saboted slugs have lead cores with a copper jacket. The rifled slugs are designed to fire through a rifled barrel. The design allows the slug to engage the rifling and spin once it leaves the muzzle. The slugs are bullet shaped and the range is considerably more than a smooth bore shooting slugs. The accuracy is similar to that of a typical rifle. Many shooters will use a scope when firing rifled slugs because of the considerable increase in range. You can use Sabot slugs in a non-rifled barrel but accuracy and range is diminished.
Some weapons allow you to switch barrels, so you can have a smooth bore for lead non-rifled slugs and birdshot and then change out for a rifled barrel, for greater ranges. There are steel slugs available that have a plastic sheathing to protect the rifling. These slugs are not designed for hunting because of over penetration but are used in tactical situations and are typically used to blow door locks, penetrate/destroy cinderblock walls or disable moving vehicles.
Rifled barreled shotguns and slugs are considerably more expensive that your typical slug and smooth bore. The cost factor is what keeps many firing their smooth bore and firing at game beyond 75 or a hundred yards is dangerous to other hunters is the thinking of many old time hunters.
However, if increased accuracy and range is important than you would need to invest in a rifled barreled shotgun. Make sure you invest in a quality scope so you can fine tune accuracy for shooting at longer ranges.
It will take some experimentation with barrels and slugs to find the range and accuracy you are looking for. Remember the most expensive gun you purchase is only as good as the shooter using it. Work on your basic shooting skills and prefect them into advanced shooting and hunting skills while you try to improve the quality of your weaponry.
Testing Remington 870 Shotgun Barrels of Different Lengths and Chokes with Slugs
There are many barrels available for the Remington 870 and other shotgun models. Most of the barrels have standard lengths like 18.5″, 21″, 26″, and 28″. Some of them are a smoothbore and some of them are rifled. In addition, there are many chokes available.
So, which one is better to shoot slugs with? Which one is more accurate? What is the best slug barrel? Usually, shooters and instructors recommend using a Cylinder or Improved Cylinder with slugs. Some shooters know that there is a rifled choke option, but they are not sure about its efficiency.
I conducted a series of tests to understand shotgun, chokes, and slugs much better. It took a lot of time but now I can share the results with you.
There are a lot of opinions and discussions about shotgun slugs. Not all shooters understand how to shoot slugs accurately. Even experienced shooters often don’t understand which barrel, ammo and choke is better for shotgun slugs.
I have used the Remington 870 with the Nightforce optic sight. This accessory was made to help users get the most accurate result possible when shooting at distances of between 50 and 100 meters (55-110 yards). Some shooters told me that optic sights cannot withstand heavy shotgun recoil but this one worked perfectly, even with Accutip slugs which are designed for high speed and provide a really hard kick.
Barrel length and slugs
Some shooters think that short barrel is a “slug barrel” and that long barrel is more suited for birdshot than slugs. But in my experience, you can shoot slugs accurately using the long barrel too. My test proved that long barrel is good and sometimes even better than short barrels.
Barrels used during test
- 18,5″ smoothbore barrel with a fixed choke
- 26″ smoothbore barrel with replaceable chokes
- 30″ smoothbore barrel with replaceable chokes
- 20″ fully rifled Barrel
Chokes used during test
Yes, you can shoot some slugs with a Full choke. But you need to contact the manufacturer about that. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Slugs, Chokes and Barrels Test Results
The test took a lot of time, so I tested only a handful of slugs. Rio Royal Star was used for most of the tests while Remington AccuTip and Rottweil Exact were used for longer distances.
I decided to test different barrels, chokes, and slugs. Here are results of 12 tests with different options:
|#||Barrel Length||Choke||Slug type||Group size, mm|
|50 m (55 yards)||100 m (110 yards)|
|1||18,5″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||117 (4.6″)|
|2||26″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||153 (6″)|
|3||26″||Mod||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||96 (3.8″)|
|4||26″||Full||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||147 (5.8″)|
|5||26″||Rifled||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||67 (2.6″)|
|6||30″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||134 (5.3″)|
|7||30″||Mod||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||145 (5.7″)|
|8||30″||Full||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||191 (7.5″)|
|9||30″||Rifled||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||112 (4.4″)|
|10||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||100 (3.9″)|
|11||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Rottweil/Gualandi||60 (2.3″)||216 (8.5″)|
|12||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Remington Accutip 25 gram (385 Grain)||72 (2.8″)||115 (4.5″)|
Testing Different Shotgun Slugs, Chokes and Barrels, Targets:
|18,5″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star
|26″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star
|26″, Mod, Rio Royal Star
|26″, Full, Rio Royal Star
|26″, Rifled, Rio Royal Star
|30″, Cyl, Rio Royal Star
|30″, Mod, Rio Royal Star
|30″, Full, Rio Royal Star
|30″, Rifled, Rio Royal
|20″, Fully Rifled Barrel, Rio Royal Star
|Rottweil Exact, Fully Rifled, 50 meters
|Remington Accutip, Fully Rifled, 50 meters|
|Rottweil Exact Fully Rifled,100 meters|
|Remington Accutip, Fully Rifled, 100 meters|
You can see results and targets above. The best results I got on 50 meters (55 yards) were with a 26″ barrel with a Modified choke, a 26″ barrel with a rifled choke and a 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel. The best result on the longer distance of 100 meters (110 yards) was with the 20″ Fully Rifled Barrel and Accutip slug.
But they were all pretty accurate for a smooth bore barrel.
Barrel, Choke, Slug and Speed
Also, we measured speed using a shooting chronograph to see if the barrel length and choke had influenced the slug speed. Here are the results:
|#||Barrel Length||Choke||Slug type||Speed meters/second|
|1||18,5″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||411.6||430,0|
|2||26″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||422.3||430,0|
|3||26″||Mod||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||421,0||430,0|
|4||26″||Full||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||416,0||430,0|
|5||26″||Rifled||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||423,2||430,0|
|6||30″||Cyl||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||428,0||430,0|
|7||30″||Mod||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||432,0||430,0|
|8||30″||Full||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||433,0||430,0|
|9||30″||Rifled||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||430,0||430,0|
|10||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Rio Royal Star 32gram (1 oz)||417,3||430,0|
|11||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Rottweil/Gualandi||406,8||415,0|
|12||20″||Fully Rifled Barrel||Remington Accutip 25 gram (385 Grain)||451,5||564,0|
Rifled choke for shotguns
I was surprised that the rifled slug worked that well. Several inches of rifling had influenced the slug and increased accuracy. The rifled choke is a must have for slug shooting. I have used this type of choke during training and competitions and rifled chokes always improved my results, even when using cheap ammunition.
Rifled barrel and Accutip slugs
Rifled barrel with special slugs enables you to shoot very accurately. Yes, both barrel and slugs are priced higher but they are well worth the price. Recoil is heavy because of the high speed of the slugs but you don’t need to shoot a lot during hunting.
This test was really interesting for me too. You can shoot slugs accurately from any shotgun barrel. Some of them give you advantages but all of them work pretty well. So, buy more slugs, visit the range often, train harder, and you will have great results with any barrel. If you shoot cheap slugs then the rifled slug may help you to get better accuracy.
|Get Remington Rifled Choke on Brownells|
Gun Safety (Blown Remington 870 Barrel)
It is important to remember that all firearms are potentially dangerous.
Remember: if you experience a flat report or low recoil, stop shooting immediately and check barrel for an obstruction. If the gun fails to fire when trigger is pulled wait 30 seconds before unloading and keep pointed in a safe direction(you may experience a “hang” fire and the cartridge will go off after a pause).
If you think that a bullet, birdshot, buckshot or anything else is obstructing the barrel, immediately unload the firearm, disassemble it and check barrels. It is not sufficient to look in the chamber only.
If there is a snow in your barrel, do not shoot, clean your barrel first.
If you use reloaded ammo be very careful because it is more dangerous than the new ammo. Be very careful when reloading ammo and be sure to check everything twice.
Here are several photos which show what can happen to your shotgun’s barrel when shooting with obstruction inside:
Here is what happened in this case: the owner of this shotgun had one reloaded shell with no gun powder inside and the bullet haven’t come out of the barrel. When he fired it for the second time, the barrel was blown out.
Blown Barrel of a Shotgun (always check for obstructions!)
Blown Barrel of a Shotgun. First slug stuck in a barrel, second blown it out. Shooter wasn’t injured. Always check for obstructions if shooting sound or recoil seems weak!
It was shotgun made in Turkey but it can happen to Remington 870 too.
The Mid Bead on Shotguns
There is a lot of debate in shooting circles about mid beads. Do they enhance a shooters capability? To some extent, just believing they do help can increase your confidence and of course increase your ability.
Some go as far to say that if you are looking at the bead you are not shooting at the target and having one more bead only gives you even more distractions. Every shooter has habits and even so-called rituals or superstitions. Change comes hard to some because they were brought up to believe in one way, and their way works, for them. However, you may never know how well your way works unless you do some comparison. Do what all advanced shooters do, explore new ways to increase proficiency. Soldiers do not train for a few weeks and then declare themselves soldiers and then never explore new training techniques or stop practicing.
Older shooters may have experienced mid beads on firearms designed for target practice. It was in many people’s mind a training tool. The mid bead allows for better alignment because over time your body changes and your sight picture will change. You may position your neck differently and your cheek weld changes. You may only think you have lined up the front bead on target. You think you are focused on the target with your eye when in fact your body is not positioned properly. You would know if your sight picture is off if, you could use the mid bead to verify alignment.
With practice after getting into a shooting position, you will naturally verify bead on bead and on target then blank out the mid bead, essentially you are shooting over the mid bead. Having a mid bead for some people means, they know the barrel is level.
As any shooter knows the bead is not there for the shooter to stare at, and if you do as a shooter you will likely miss your target. Once the bead is lined up, it should blur into the background, it is there and your eyes register it so you can always tell if you have “drawn a bead”. Your eyes can only focus on one thing at a time and you must be focused on the target. The bead is a flag waving in the background to let you know all is ok.
A mid bead can help you learn your natural point of aim and to maintain it. The natural point of aim is that point you always come back to. You may close your eyes for a few seconds and when you open them, the sight picture will not have changed. The mid bead will tell you when you had your eyes closed if you moved your weapon from its mount/shooting position. If you find yourself suddenly looking over the mid bead or cannot see the front bead something has changed. Once positioned correctly you will see only one bead the mid bead fades and then the bigger front bead will fade as you focus on target. It will take some practice but once you shoot using a mid bead you may find yourself finding your true and natural point of aim more easily each time.
Shotgun Barrel Porting
Porting is simply adding holes to the barrel of a firearm near the end of the barrel. In most cases, the reason this is done is to reduce recoil and the resulting muzzle jump. Porting is also used to reduce muzzle flash but as many experts point out if, the flash is not at the muzzle it comes out the “port” holes. Porting can be done on essentially any barrel and many shooters will port the barrels of their shotguns to reduce recoil.
ATTENTION: Porting should only be done by a professional gunsmith or by someone, who has the proper tools and experience.
If done properly and close to the end of the barrel there does not appear by all accounts to be any reduction in muzzle velocity. However, the exploding gases are escaping through other than the intended method designed by the manufacture. Some of the hot gases (energy) of course will exit the top of the barrel through the holes instead of entirely behind the round as it exits the muzzle.
Some shooters claim that the reduction in recoil or even the perceived reduction helps them maintain target discipline. It is easier according to some to acquire/reacquire the target after firing if their barrel is ported.
Because the gases exit near the front sights, the sights will become fouled and must be cleaned regularly. Stainless steel or nickel plating will show the fouling as well. The weapon will be louder because of the escaping gases through multiple holes. This would likely only be a problem in a home defense situation where you are firing in a confined space without the benefits of ear protection.
The flash of hot gases exiting the barrel along your line of sight can have an impact on your night vision if firing in a low light situation. Light of course will cause the eye to block the intense light, thus reducing your ability to see in low light. Muzzle flash is not a problem if shooting in daylight.
There is some debate on the Internet concerning barrel porting and the dangers to others near the ports or the possible flash/flame creating injury or damage. Keep in mind many manufactures offer factory porting and you can buy several models of handguns, rifles and shotguns with the barrel ported from the manufacturer.
There is an Internet article that describes a possible scenario where porting a revolver barrel could seriously harm your passenger, if you are firing across them out the passenger window. In theory if someone’s face was just inches from the barrel when fired the hot gases and gunpowder residue might cause injury (powder burns). This scenario is highly unlikely however and you would have to assume for the holes to cause injury that all of the holes where all on one side of the barrel instead of on top of the barrel.
Being close to the muzzle/barrel of any firearm when fired whether ported or not is dangerous and will cause injury from hot gases and residue. The flash from a firearm can cause a fire in some circumstances, but this is very rare occurrence. It is assumed that anyone near the muzzle of any firearm you fire is someone you have marked as a target.
There does not appear to be any inherent risks to using a ported barrel. There does appear to be benefits however in the reduction of felt recoil and muzzle lift. It only makes sense that if you give the gases more escape routes the recoil will be reduced because the gases are not wholly concentrated in one place.
For those of you wondering about reduction in energy by releasing the gases through the portholes
Will this have an effect on the cycling of the weapon? The energy from the propellant has already performed its duty by the time the gases have reached the portholes. This conclusion also allows for some discussion on how much felt recoil is actually reduced. The energy from the shell is utilized at the forcing cone, which is what allows the energy to be used to cycle the weapon.
Barrel Porting by Shoten Armory
Interesting info from James from Shoten Armory:
While the enclosed (attached) photos are obviously of Mossberg 500 barrels, we
receive the same results from our ported Remington barrels as well. You will
notice I did not specify a length. The barrel by itself is a 20″ and the two barrels
together are set up differently. One used to be a 28″ vent rig reduced to 18.” and
ported by Shoten Armory while the other is a stock 18.5″ Mossberg barrel with
Mossberg heat shield with Shoten Armory porting and bead front sight.
While we have Remington barrels set up the same way, we do not have suitable photos
that would allow you to see the tight and clean machining we did and the fact that
we actually use a multiphase drilling and deburring process inside and out to insure
zero tooling marks.
It is important to note a number of things here:
1) We do NOT backbore the barrels. Doing so does affect spread pattern of shot but results
in a drastic reduction of slug accuracy.
2) We are able to show up to 65% reduction in muzzle flip in an 18.5″ barrel using either
00 Buckshot or slugs.
3) in most cases, the wall thickness of Mossberg barrels is generally thicker than Remington.
Meaning, a lighter weight barrel is more prone to flip than a heavier weight barrel. The Remington
LE barrels are heavier and are far more comparable to Mossberg. I’ve run calipers on all of my
barrels and generally, the Mossbergs are heavier and with more substantial wall thickness. Still, the
porting results we have seen on Remington barrels have been very comparable in keeping with the advertised 65% maximum muzzle flip reduction we’ve been receiving.
I can easily go into more depth here from an engineering standpoint, but from a shooter’s standpoint, they are more interested in end results in their hands.
i have the 18.5″ Carlson barrel. What a nice barrel!!! Perfect fit, threads are cut nicely, and the chokes screw in and out extremely smooth!!!!! I shot clays with it yesterday just to break in my brand new 870 ill be using for HD. The shorter barrel took a little getting used to but was a ton of fun! Best part out of it all?! NOT ONE SINGLE FTE!!!!! These barrels have a super smooth chamber and ramp! Excellent choice in a barrel!
Wade, thanks for the info! Carlson barrels are now out of stock :)
I have a Remington 870 18” bead sight barrel just because (like you already pointed out) it’s short, inexpensive and I can easily maneuver it around the house. It is also great for clay shooting! I always hit at least 80% of them! I honestly don’t feel the need for a longer barrel, but realize others may need one.
Has anyone seen and do you know where to find a full length, 26 or 28 inch, barrel with the same finish as the Marine Magnum. Already has the 18.5″ just looking to make it more versatile.
Not possible with a factory barrel . You might check in your local are for plating company’s that recrome bumpers is a good start the finish is electroless nickle there is a company in nj. i belive called Robar that will do custom finishing on a longer barrel for you .
I recently purchased a new barrel that has really been fantastic! It’s a factory Remington 870 rifle sight, 20″ barrel threaded for rem Chokes. It’s short enough to use for hd but with the sights n chokes can do just about anything from sport to hunting duty. Bought it used on eBay for 130$, I couldn’t believe how little it was used, mirror bore n no usage marks any where. Really a diamond in the rough.
I got one of those for my 1100 SP Magnum. Only thing it’s missing is the Chrome lining that my factory 86″ SP has inside it’s 26″ inch factory barrel but those were a special run and limited to only 1986 and 1987. The 1187 SP guns came out in 87 and so did REMCHOKE. The 87″ model 1100 SP ( Same gun as mine) has the 26″ inch chrome lined remchoke installed on it but my 86″ SP 1100 does not. It came with full fixed choke.
I looked for ever for that 21″ REMCHOKE rifle sight barrel. Midway got one sent back so I got one from them last year. Problem was they cut the damn remchoke threads slightly off center so the damn thing shoots to the right with some slugs and some loads. Nothing the sights could not correct for but I can tell it’s consistent with certain loads. Federal slugs with true ball shot so far right the sights had no more adjustment left to counter for it. Super-X slugs did fine and only shot slightly right maybe 3″ at 50 yards. Every load of buckshot I have shot out of it has been spot on.
I’m more familiar with ribs than most other sighting systems.
Where do I find a 18.5″ barrel with a vent rib on it?
Possibly one w/ an integrated night bead or ghost ring?
Is this something thats only done by high end companies like Vang comp..or just my local gun smith? (guess i need to find one)
I think you need to buy a long vent rib barrel and cut it to desired length.
Shortest made vent rib is the 20-21″ inch 12 and 20 gauge barrels made with REMCHOKE installed in them. They are for the youth 20 gauge SP and the 12 gauge SP 870 and 1187 1100 guns. They also made a 22″ 24″ inch remchoke vent rib barrel for the 1100 870 guns. Nothing shorter but you wont notice 18″ vs 20″ inches it’s only 2″ inches difference and honestly the 20-21″ inch barrels with vent rib allow for Remchoke so your better off unless all you planned to ever fire was flight control lol……………….wish guys would hush about that shit, it got my favorite Federal Buckshot discontinued along with Winchester favorite loads……………….Federal 20 pellet #1 Buck and the Winchester 20 pellet #1 Buckshot got discontinued in 2008 due to the damn Flight Control #00 shit turning every cylinder bore out there into something special. It took all the fun out of shotgunning and patterning. Now every one and there cousin posts flight control HD shotgun patterns from 15 feet or 15 yards thinking it’s something magic. Meanwhile the rest of the shotgun community that had been doing things for years and had ammo stashed up and choke load combo worked out lost out on 2-3 of the better sleeper Buckshot loads ever made.
I purchased my 870, 20-ga, with a 21″ barrel and I wanted an 18″ barrel for a little shorter Home Defense use weapon ! Called Remington, got an 18″ barrel sent, and it fit like it came with the gun; the interchange was easy.
I have a question, one of my co-workers said his Dad has a Remington 870 pump with inter changeable barrels 12, 16 & 20. Did or Does Remington make one of these guns? If so, when?
870 12 and 16 gauge guns are on the exact same frame and honestly the barrels will fit onto and into the frame but they require different internal parts that are slightly different machining, like the bolt and other parts. Remington 870 20 28 and 410 shotguns are all on the same frame and it is possible to swap out 20 28 gauge barrels between a single 20 gauge or 28 gauge gun but again some of the the internal bolt parts are differently machined. The 1100 auto REM guns are the same way but here is the real kicker………………..Some older 20 gauges are actually 12 gauge frame guns for both the 870 and 1100 models. These came prior to the company in the late 60’s creating the 1100 and 870 light weight 20 gauge shotguns. What Remington did was first to introduce the 870 and 1100 in 28 gauge in the late 60’s and then the next year they put the 20 gauge on the market but it’s on the same exact frame as the 28 gauge. To do this Remington manufactured the frame for 1100 or 870 shotguns to be slightly large for a 28 gauge but very light for a 20 gauge. This really boosted sales for them and it created a cult following for the Light-Weight 1100’s. .410’s 1100 and 870’s are also built on the 28 gauge frame. Later in the early early 80’s or late 70’s Remington changed the name of the 20 gauge 1100 light weight to 1100LT-20. This frame is just ever so slightly tougher or heavier built then older 1100 light weight 20 gauges. For the most part they are the same though. 1100LT-20’s have a barrel extension tang with ejector on the barrel tang where as 1100 light weight 20 gauges do not.
Be careful buying an 1100 cause some of the early 1100LT-20’s got stamped with Light Weight on them but they are clearly a 1100LT-20 as one can see when one looks at the barrel extension running back into the receiver. Same happened to some 1100 Light Weight models in the late 70’s…………..they got marked 1100LT-20 rather then light weight. There is also a 1100 Light Weight Magnum………still on the older 28 gauge frame!!!! Don’t buy one they broke often cause they were to tiny to handle 20 gauge 3″ inch magnums. Also of note here, all 1100 12, 20, 28, 410 frames are Magnum frames no matter what the barrel says. If the barrel says 2 3/4″ it means that particular 1100 was only fitted with a 2 3/4″ inch capable chamber inside the barrel and the gun will have a light or standard recoil action sleeve bar. 1100 guns marked Magnum on the barrel or receiver 3″ inch have the exact same receiver as 2 3/4″ inch guns it’s just they came with a 3″ inch magnum chambered barrel and also had a heavy duty magnum action sleeve bar. You can mount any 3″ inch 12 gauge magnum 1100 barrel onto any 2 3/4″ factory 1100 receiver and shoot 3″ inch magnum Steel Shot Shells. To safely shoot Lead 3″ inch Magnums when mounting a 3″ inch magnum barrel onto a 2 3/4″ inch factory 1100 receiver you have to purchase a heavy magnum action sleeve for the gun also. If you put a 2 3/4″ inch short barrel onto a Magnum 1100 12 gauge receiver you can only fire 2 3/4″ inch shells through the gun at that point. ( Simply put, on 1100’s the barrel is the chamber and it’s either a 2 3/4″ barrel or a 3″ inch barrel and that’s all there is to it other then the action sleeve.) If you ever buy an 1100 Magnum and want a short barrel all they make is 2 3/4″ inch chambered 21″ and 18″ inch barrels, so one can no longer fire 3″ inch shells through that gun unless one puts the 3″ inch magnum chambered barrel back onto it.
Looking for long barrel for870 Mag full choke ventrib
I have an 36 inch rare rt hand Remington 23/4 shells full choke if you are interested very clean vent rib twin beads.
Call me if you still have barrel for sale 812-381-4853
Sorry Bob but it ended up in Fitzegearld Ga swapped for a 30 in step trap barrel It is at Broomes fire arms 1-229-423-2462.
I have the 28” barrel on my 870 and noticed when shooting trap that I miss quite often. I’m shooting completely stock out of the box. Any suggestions? Different choke?
I have never fully understood why anyone would be a Defensive only shotgun with short barrel already on the gun. At most 300$ is what you will pay for a top of the line 21″ inch REMCHOKE RIFLE SIGHT 1100 1187 or 870 slug barrel. Why anyone would buy the short bead sight only barrel with no choke capability is also beyond me. 10 years ago prior to Flight Control #00 Buck ( So tired of hearing about that load by the way) People still bought only a cylinder bore 18″ or 21″ inch barrel and hoped for the best when firing buckshot. It never made sense to me. I know why Remington and other companies thread every other barrel for choke tubes but not the 18″ bead barrels…………they wanna sell you more then one shotgun lol. When a man can simply have 1-2 good shotguns with 2 barrels only per gun it’s all he really needs. It makes no sense to have your 26″ or 30″ inch barrel threaded for REMCHOKE but not your 18″ inch barrel. Keep in mind that’s why Remington and others sell the combat shotguns with 18″ inch barrels on them with out REMCHOKE threads cut into the muzzle. That way when you decide you want to hunt or need a better pattern you have to buy either 1 or even 2 more barrels for the gun you have.
They only make them on limited runs but Remington makes 870 100 11-87 21″ inch rifle sight Remchoke slug barrels. They also make a 18″ inch modified fixed bead barrel for all 3 models and they make a 24″ inch and 21″ inch vent rib REMCHOKE barrel for 870 12 and 20 gauge guns as well as the 11-87. The 18″ inch Modified fixed barrels were for Police contracts in the early 2000’s prior to flight control and they made run offs to sell to the public. Mostly all gone now though. If you need a barrel that is good for everything out there under the sun from Goose shooting to HD or Tacti-cool looks Remington also makes the 24″ inch vent Rib Remchoke system SP barrel in camo or matte Black. This 24″ inch length is perfect for everything if you only have the cash for one barrel and one gun.
Don’t fall for all the Flight Control hype out there either………….you can get just as good if not better patterns out of chepo regular Super-X modern ammo or other buckshot if you play around with choke tubes. Modified or Improved Modified always worked well for me in 21″ inch Remchoke barrels using Super-X 9 pellet LR 1200 FPS #00 or the 12 pellet S&B #1 Buck load. 16 pellet Remington or Winchester #1 Buck seemed to only like my factory Lead or Steel Full flush choke made by Remington also, has that off yellow weird color to it. With the modern Super-X 9 pellet #00 that now uses a AA12 plastic cup type wad I can get baseball size patterns at 25 yards easy every shot.
Does any one know if you can put a full size barrel on the youth 870 20ga. It comes with a 21 inch.
DO NOT BUY THE CARLSON’S REPLACAEMENT BARRELL!
In December of 2019, I purchased a 12 gauge Carlson’s 870 18” barrel with interchangeable choke tubes. Three problems: 1. The barrel did not shoot to point of aim. 2. There was a grinding noise when turning various factory choke tubes in the threads. 3. Worse yet, the bolt did not lock correctly into the barrel cutout. Every other round fired of 3” Remington Nitro Turkey loads would open and blow back the action with gusto! This is potentially a very dangerous situation. At the minimum, eventually this would damage the shotgun. I am glad I purchased it at a Cabela’s store so I could take advantage of their great service policy.
I have a Remington Sportsman 12 Pump Magnum shotgun with a 28″ full choke barrel and 2 3/4″ chamber. I’ve read that this is essentially a Remington 870 model. Is it ok to use 2 3/4″ rifled slugs in this shotgun for deer hunting? What kind of accuracy can I expect?
I remember some years ago Carlson used to sell a model 870 barrel that was 20 inches had a vent rib and had straight grooves and lands as rifling instead of a twist. Does anyone know if this Barrel is still available anywhere?
Great Article, what is the longest 870 20 gauge barrel out there? I can’t find anything longer than a 28″
what is the longest 870 20 gauge barrel out there? I can’t find anything longer than a 28″
Forgot to mention the “thin wall” and “thick wall” barrels. Thin wall barrels were prior to the law suit concerning thin wall barrels blowing up. Thick wall barrels were made to stand higher pressures and to stop the barrels from blowing up. Thick wall barrels use a different extended magazine forward retainer than the old thin wall barrels. The extended magazine front retainer for the thick wall barrel has an “X” on it. I was involved in the law suit over the thin wall barrels.
I own a Remington 12 gauge, 20″, smooth bore (Imp Cyl) slug barrel, with rifle sights, but I don’t see it listed in your article. Perhaps you could add this info in future updates.
I have a .410 Remington Model Wingmaster Riot Style shotgun. I cannot find a barrel out there to fit. Anybody have any ideas?