Remington 870 Express 20 Gauge Upgrades (Recommended for Home Defense)
The Remington 870 Express Youth Pump Action shotgun is a 20-gauge special that not too many people know about. Of course, most people are familiar with the Remington 870 shotgun model because it has been around for roughly 60 years. The 12-gauge Express, however, is what most people are familiar with. The Express Youth Pump Action is a 20-gauge with a design that’s proved reliability over the years. It has great versatility and shooting characteristics. The slide-action performance of the 870 Express Youth gives you fantastic reliability and dependability while you’re shooting the weapon. If you’ve ever used a Remington 870 before, then you’ll love the look and feel of the Remington 870 Express Youth because they are very similar in both design and quality.
Remington Model 870 Express Youth 20 Gauge Pump Shotgun
Remington 870 Express Youth is perfect choice for youth or lady.
If you need any more of a reason to purchase the Remington 870 Express Youth Pump Action Shotgun, then how about the fact that it’s priced at only $349.99. That is a cheaper price than either the Remington 870 Wingmaster and the Remington 870 Express. Regardless, the Remington 870 Express is just like any other Remington 870 shotgun because the receiver is crafted from solid steel in order to give it the durability that 870s are known for. It also contains two action bars that are very smooth and prevent twisting and binding.
Remington 870 Express in 20 Gauge is reliable shotgun with less recoil. It looks tiny compared to 12 gauge shotgun:
What is unique about the “youth” shotguns of the Remington 870 are the fact that they have shortened barrels which provide a counter balance to their lightweight stocks. This makes shotgun comfortable to use. The stocks of the 870 Express Youth come in either laminated hardwood or black synthetics. They are the perfect weight, balance, and length for any shooter who is a bit smaller than the average shooter. That is why it is called a “youth” shotgun. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be as small as a child or teenager to use this weapon. It is meant for anyone who is short and thin.
The weight of the weapon is 5.75 pounds and the sight is a simple metal bead. The barrel length is 21 inches long, the shotgun accepts both 2 3/4″ and 3″ shells, the barrel and receiver are matte blued, the choke is a modified Remington Choke, the safety is a standard button, and the weapon has a 4 in a magazine and 1 in a chamber ammo capacity.
Remington 870 in 20 gauge has less recoil and very popular among smaller shooters, youth and ladies. And good news that it will have almost the same effectiveness when used for home defense.
There are a lot of questions about Remington 870 Express 20 Gauge upgrades. Here is list of the available upgrades for your Remington 870 20 Gauge.
Mesa Tactical Sureshell Shotshell Ammunition Carrier 20 Gauge Remington 870 Right Side 4-Round Aluminum Matte
This is must have upgrade for any tacticl or home defense shotgun because shotguns have very limited number of rounds and you need to have spare ammot at your hands.
If you store your shotgun unloaded you will want to have your ammunition easily accessible to you on the shotgun rather than on a strap or in bandoleer. This is what makes receiver mount shell holders so convenient. They are sidesaddles that mount onto the side of your shotgun’s receiver and can hold your shotgun shells. For the Remington 870, the Mesa Tactical 6-Round Side Saddle is the recommended upgrade for holding shells. Like the name indicates, it can hold 6 shotgun shells onto the side of your Remington 870 without taking up much room. The sidesaddle is also lightweight because it is made out of aluminum. This means it will be indestructible while maintaining the comfort level of carrying or aiming with your shotgun. Of course, you aren’t limited to just purchasing a 6-round version of the sidesaddle. There are also 4-round and 8-round shell carriers as well. The Mesa Tactical side saddle may be pricier than other sidesaddles, but it is more reliable and better quality.
Mesa Tactical Sureshell, Shotshell Carrier, 20 Gauge, Aluminum, 4-Shell Right Side, Side Saddle, Fits Remington 870, Black Finish 93230
Remington 870 Express 20 Gauge TacStar Side Saddle
If you are looking for a more inexpensive sidesaddle shell carrier then try the TacStar 6-Round Sidesaddle for the Remington 870. This particular one comes in two pieces; a nylon plastic shell holder and an aluminum sidesaddle mounting plate for the receiver. The shell holder mounts onto the plate using two big Allen screws. Make sure you tighten these screws when you put them in because they are known for getting loose very easily in this sidesaddle. If you are outside in an area with dirt then it will be very hard to locate them if the screws fall down into it.
Remington 870 20 Gauge Non-MIM Extractor
Remington 870 shotguns have two types of extractors that you can use in the weapon; MIM extractors and non-MIM extractors. MIM is an acronym that stands for metal injection molding. Many of the new Remington 870 models on the market feature the MIM extractor in it. However, many gun owners do not like the MIM extractor because it is unreliable. The non-MIM extractor is a machined extractor which is known for being more reliable when extracting shells. This is the type of extractor that used to be included with Remington 870 shotguns. Now the only way you can get the non-MIM extractor in your shotgun is by replacing the MIM extractor with it. Fortunately, this is possible to do.
Remington 870 20 Gauge Choate Magazine Extension
One of the first upgrades that any owner of a Remington 870 will make to their shotgun is the installation of a magazine extension tube. The reason why is because shotguns by themselves can hold very limited number of rounds. By adding a magazine extension tube, this could double or even triple the number of rounds that it can hold at one time. That way, if you are going out hunting or target shooting then you won’t have to keep putting new rounds in the chamber after every couple of shots.
Remington 870 20 Gauge Aluminum Follower
The follower is an important part of the Remington 870’s magazine because it pushes the ammunition rounds from the magazine into the chamber. The follower is a very small piece, but it is important to the functionality of your Remington 870 shotgun. Since this piece can easily break, it is important that you have a quality magazine follower that is durable and reliable when using your weapon. Therefore, this should be a follower made out of metal and not some flimsy plastic or synthetic kind. That way you can get the most years out of it that you can while preserving the lifespan of your weapon.
Magazine Spring Used: Stock OEM REM870, 20-ga.
Rounds used in Testing: Bird Shot and #4 Shot, 2 ¾” Length, standard rounds.
Packaging: The Follower comes in a plastic bag with Instruction Sheet. No additional shock absorbing packaging, (not sure any is needed).
The Follower: It is a nicely machined piece of aluminum, no sharp edges on either the outside or the inside, with an anodized coating that is applied smoothly and has a great appearance.
Fitment: It fits the 20-ga REM870 Mag nicely and slides easily inside the Mag Tube I noticed no binding.
Note: I loaded and ejected 50 rounds, shot 50 rounds and the Brownell’s Follower worked as expected, no binding, no problem loading or racking rounds.
Overview: This is a simple Product designed and manufacturer well and tight tolerances allow it to work as well or better than the original follower. I used the included instructions for disassembly and installation of the follower and they worked well and got me through what I thought would be some difficult disassembly.
There is a color choice, if you need one, Black, Gold, Natural, Red…
Remington 870 20 Gauge Speedfeed Stock and Forend
There are many stock choices out there when looking to upgrade your standard Remington 870 20 gauge shotgun.
Weaver No-Gunsmith Converta Shotgun Mount – Remington 870
Remington 870 Mesa Tactical’s 20 Gauge to 12 Gauge Stock Adapter
New! Now you can install stock for 12 gauge Remington 870 on 20 gauge Remington 870! I think this product will help many Remington 870 owners.
Mesa Tactical’s 20 gauge to 12 gauge adapter dramatically increases the number and type of butt stocks that can be used with 20 gauge Remington 870 shotguns. Attached at the receiver in place of the standard 20 gauge stock, this cast steel adapter enables the use of any 12 gauge Remington 870 stock. There are many more options for the 12 gauge than 20 gauge, including Mesa Tactical’s Urbino Stocks, telescoping stock adapter kits and even Hydraulic Buffer systems.
|Remington 870 Mesa Tactical’s 20 Gauge to 12 Gauge Stock Adapter|
Magazine tube extensions for 20 Gauge Remington 870 shotgun
If you own a 20 gauge Remington 870 then you may be interested in magazine tube extensions for your shotgun. These extensions basically add extra rounds to your shotgun’s magazine tube. The extension tube gets mounted right underneath the barrel, which is where the magazine tube and fore-end are located. A normal magazine tube on a 20 gauge Remington 870 can hold four rounds of ammunition. So if you were to add a 2-round extension tube to the end of it then it could fit six rounds of ammunition instead of 4 rounds. This is a lot of ammunition for a shotgun to shoot without having to reload it. The differences between the tubes have to do with the number of extra rounds they can give you and what gauge shotgun you have. The 12-gauge extension tube with two or three rounds for the Remington 870 is the most common and it is priced at about $75.
The two main magazine extensions for the 20 gauge Remington 870 are the Nordic Components magazine tube and the Choate magazine tube. The Nordic is made of aluminum and comes in three parts. It has a high quality spring and it is light weight. Most shooters love using this extension because it doesn’t give them problems. The Choate extension has one part with one long metal tubular extension that is available in either a matte blue finish or polished blue. However, this extension requires the most modifications to be done before it can be used. This includes cutting the spring to the proper length and polishing the inside of the extension tube so that you don’t have any feeding problems.
Magazine tube extension choices for 20 Gauge Remington 870 shotgun
Owners of 20 gauge Remington 870 suffer from the small number of upgrades that available for their shotguns. They have less choices than owners of 12 gauge Remington 870s. Happily, new upgrades are regularly introduced by many manufacturers. For example: Remington 870 Mesa Tactical’s 20 Gauge to 12 Gauge Stock Adapter which enables owner of 20 gauge shotgun install 12 gauge stock.
There are no many magazine extensions available for 20 gauge Remington 870. I was able to find only two 20 gauge magazine extensions: Choate and Nordic Components.
20 Gauge Magazine Extension from Choate
I am not a big fan of Choate magazine extensions. You can read review of 12 gauge Remington 870 magazine extensions and see advantages and disadvantages in details.
There are several known problems with Choate magazine extension:
1. Spring needs to be cut to proper length.
2. Follower is too big and diameter need to be reduced to slide freely in the magazine tube.
3. It is difficult to thread it fully on to the existing magazine extension tube. Fits very very tight.
4. Problems with feeding, follower sticks. Can be fixed by polishing the inside of an extension tube. It looks like this extension was stamped and not made of solid piece of metal.
More information about 20 Gauge Choate Magazine Extensions: http://tinyurl.com/jyazskl
20 Gauge Magazine Extension from Nordic Components
Nordic Components magazine extension is one of the best available on the market today. 20 gauge Nordic Components magazine extension has the same construction and advantages.
First of all it is made of aluminium. Second advantage is that it consists of 3 parts (tube, tube cap, tube nut). This extension comes with high-quality spring with black coating. And the best thing – a lot of shooters use these extensions and have no problems with them.
Now let’s have a closer look at all advantages Nordic Components extension gives to a shooter…
This extension is lightweight. If you compare it to other ones you will see a great difference in weight. Remington 870 is a heavy shotgun and is nice to have such lightweight extension.
It consists of 3 parts: tube, tube end cap, tube nut. This allows you to have one +5 tube for competitions and one +3 tube for home-defense. +5 tube allows to have more rounds but it sticks out too much, it is much better to have a shorter tube for use in close quarters.
Also, after installation, you can take out the end cap and look inside your magazine tube to check if everything is ok.
The spring is fantastic. This is the best spring for a magazine extension you can find. I have seen many of them, the best one is from Nordic Components, the worst one is made by Choate.
More information about 20 Gauge Nordic Components Magazine Extensions: http://tinyurl.com/zgnlqlo
All the 20 gauge magazine extension tubes have their good and bad qualities. If you ask gun owners which ones they like best then they will likely give you different answers. The only way to know which extension will work best for you is to try them out for yourself and experiment with them. Then you will know the answer.
Remington 870 20-Gauge Shotgun Build
By GrevB, NnF000
We can call this a “Tactical Build” or a “Home Defense Build” or maybe just “Building a REM870, 20-ga… My Way” !
Please Note that I am not going to tell you how to disassemble or assemble your Shotgun, I leave that to people on this Site that know a lot more than I do about the Remington 870 Express. I will call out the parts and part numbers (P/N:) where I known, and give a short review.
Vendors that supplied parts or considerations for this build:
1) Spitfire Armory, Front and Rear Sights;
Rear Sights – https://spitfirearmory.com/products/ghost-ring-ex-rear-sight/
Front Sights – https://spitfirearmory.com/products/ex-tactical-snub-front-sight-st/
2) CDM Gear – Mag Tube Extension Support with Side-rails (BMT Light Mount with or without Rail)
3) West Coast Armory – Cerakote, Gunsmith, Contact them by Phone
Other Vendors/Part used:
1) Stock – Phoenix Technology, Kicklite, Adjustable
2) Heatshield – ATI, Halo Heatshield, Metal 12-ga modified
3) Remington – Extension Tube, Ext Tube Nut, and 18” Barrel
4) Hogue Rubber Over Molded Forend – Hogue
5) 20-ga Universal No-Jam Follower, Follower Spring – S&J Hardware
6) Choke – Kicks Ind
7) Barrel Machining – R&D Custom Barrel Service, www.americhoke.com
The Completed 20-ga Remington 870 Shotgun after rebuild, Olive Drab – Cerakote with Black Accessories.
All of the accessories, although thought of as unnecessary, make this gun a lot easier to handle and easier to shoot. What more can you ask for “The Wife likes it” !
The Build starts out purchasing a Shotgun for Home Defense, I believe Remington to be one of the best Shotguns so the decision was easy… an 870, but I didn’t need a 12-gauge, a 20-ga – Express will do. As it turned out it was a junior model with a 21” barrel.
I got it, shot it, what a great gun, shoots quickly and accurately.
As most people these days I search the Web WAY too much ! Locating all kinds of Shotgun Accessories along with other things. The list was started with parts that would look good, Defense, Tactical, just about anything that looked the way I wanted it and someday would buy but we all know what happened next, as my wife calls it, we had the “Truck-a-Day Club” arriving with parts for my new Shotgun.
I started with a Remington 18” Barrel, P/N: F400436, thinking the size was better for home defense, shorter and easier to handle around the house. At the same time an order was placed for a 2-rd Mag Extension Tube, P/N: F400683, and Nut, P/N: F400424. Next safety wise, a heat shield would save a burn or two, wait a minute; just how many rounds would I fire at an intruder to heat up the barrel enough to worry about… didn’t matter, I wanted it and would get it later if I found the right price.
It was then decided to make this Shotgun more friendly for my wife to shoot, just in case; the next step was to shorten the rear of the gun to fit her torso… an adjustable stock would work for both of us.
Off again to the Web and I found numerous stocks that fit the 20 gauge and settled on the Phoenix Technology Kicklite Unit, Model # KLT007, it fit the overall package and it feels good when shooting. It comes with the recoil reducer (Kicklite) build in and a recoil pad that is very soft and would help even more than the Kicklite feature. To my wife’s and my surprise the Stock reduced the kick to more of a heavy backwards push than a kick back; good… I made a home run there. Also, this Stock was purchased on Amazon.com, great price, quick shipping!
The above and below pictures show the Phoenix Technology, Kicklite, Adjustable Stock, KLT007, for the 20-ga REM870, collapsed and extended. It fits well, easy to install, and feels great when shooting. There is a location for a Shoulder Strap and as you can see in the bottom picture it has a lot of adjustment to fit my long position and my wife’s short position.
Next came the Hogue Rubber Over Molded Forend, P/N: 08737, not a must have but it is sweet to grab and know your hand isn’t going to slip when chambering a round. This piece felt great, just soft enough to get a good grip and again the wife liked it. The part itself was well made, no sharp ends, no loose pieces of the rubber over-lay, fit the 20-ga and worked !
Hogue Rubber Over Molded Forend, good grip, feels easier to chamber a round, gives a good look.
Had no problem installing this piece, almost a slide in but again I am a novice and I had to work it a little, finally got it together only to pull it out again for Cerakote.
When test fitting the Hogue Foreend it installed easily, the OEM Foreend almost fell out, surprise, and the new unit took a little wiggling but it slipped back in place without too much effort.
As the build went on a decision was made to make what I call a Tactical Looking Shotgun; I wasn’t going to crawl through the bush or do any precision shooting but just something to impress someone just by looking at it, right… we all kind-of want that. I started the search for a heatshield that should give it the look I was wanted, only to find out again there are no heat shields for a 20-ga shotgun. I looked at the 12-ga ATI Halo Metal Heatshield, among others, liked the look of it, and found one locally to test fit it to my 20-ga. It turned out to be as expected a loose fit but not that loose, I could mold the mounting ring easily, and it appeared that the metal on the Heatshield, although thick, moved when I applied pressure. The Heatshield was purchased and I proceeded to mold the 12-ga Receiver End Mounting Ring and the Shield to fit the contours of the 20-ga Barrel. Use small steps when applying pressure to the plastic ring and remember that the Heatshield is rigid, maybe hardened, so small amounts of pressure will reduce the chance of cracking. Two things arose that could be a problem, one was the front mount was for a 12-ga barrel and is a larger diameter, and two was if the Heatshield would slide once the shooting began, it was made for a 12-ga remember. I looked for a better way to secure the front mount and found myself on the Web again at CDM Gear (cdmgear.com).
This picture shows you the mounting of the Heatshield, the rear is the same as the 12-ga except compressed, in fact I used the 12-ga Ring and squeezed it to a smaller diameter, do it slow and easy, small steps. The same for the Heatshield, small steps will produce what you are looking for.
I had already purchased a Remington Extension Mag-Tube and Nut, so I decide to find a support for the 20-ga Mag-Tube and found BMT Light Mount from CDM Gear.
A quick note about CDM Products, they are very well made, held to close tolerances and finished better than any aftermarket product I have used to date.
OK back to my story, I contacted CDM Gear and got their “ BMT Light Mount without the 3 slot rail for 20 gauge shotguns”, a great piece. I didn’t know at the time but the width of the BMT Light Mount was a little wider than the front mounting point for the 12-ga ATI Heatshield, wow what a surprise all I needed to do was stretch the front apart some and slide it over the mount, not that easy but close. I did spread the mount in the front but had to bend the mounting tabs, the lower portion of the Heatshield’s Front Mount, inward to lie flat against the BMT Mount, and modify the Heatshield Mounting Holes by slotting them 1/8” each, the front slotted to the front and the rear slotted to the rear. After the bending was completed and the holes were slotted and aligned to the BMT Mount, the Heatshield slid over the mount and fit like it was made for it. Now how do I secure it to the CDM BMT Mount ? First try was the mounting hardware I got from CDM but it left too much of the modified holes showing so the best idea was to use something to cover up the holes, back to CDM Gear and see what they had that fit the BMT Mount. The CDM Side Rails looked good and bolted directly to the BMT Light Mount, these are three slot rails and should cover the holes and also they will squeeze the Heatshield between the Side Rails and the BMT Mount for a good solid fit. I contacted CDM and ordered two Side Rails and they arrived quickly and covered the modified holes and jammed the Heatshield in place as originally thought.
The Three Slot Rails are well made, as expected from CDM, a quality piece.
As you can see the fitment of the CDM BMT Mount is flawless. Tight tolerances and good machining produce a perfect fit as you can see in the picture. Using the BMT Mount to mount a Heatshield was not the intension of CDM but it worked out better than I had hoped.
Heatshield secured, looks good but now my OEM front sights were blocked some, I didn’t like the look… ! I was looking for a new front sight and ended up finding a site called Spitfire Armory (spitfirearmory.com), good people there but as we started talking they did not have any sights for a 20-ga shotgun; I was told there isn’t enough call for the parts but they are working on a 20-ga front sight, I understood but wasn’t happy. The owner talked to me and told me he was working on front sights and if I wanted to try the prototype out we can work something out. He also suggested using the 12-ga rear sights,12-ga on a 20-ga, this won’t work, right. Well the owner took the time to find a 20-ga REM870 locally and test fit the sight and as we both found out the taper of the rear of the receiver is the same on both the 12 and the 20-ga guns or at least close enough that the Rear Sight fits without any noticeable gap and it had a front rail that is attached, fit the front portion of the receiver between the rear sights and the front of the receiver.
The front prototype sights fit the 20-ga barrel tight and should not move and raised the front sights to match the height of the rear sights dead-on.
Both sights were machined very well, no machine marking, no sharp edges, look great and give the 20-ga a new look. The Fiber Optics used in these sights are bright, brighter than the Tritium sights on my 9mm and although they may not be as bright at night but you can see them with any dim light source so I think they will work.
12-ga Spitfire Armory Rear Sights on 20-ga Receiver ! As you can see the rear of the Receiver was the most concern and the 12-ga Sights from Spitfire fit like it was made for it. The Fiber Optics are BRIGHT giving you a great sight path.
Two problems came up when fitting the Heatshield, one was the bead on the front of the OEM Barrel, and two was and interference fit between the front of the Heatshield and the Front Sight Pedestal, what to do ? I didn’t know that all that was needed to remove the bead was put a pair of pliers on it and twist but that is how it happened, gone, the interference fit, well that took a little extra work. A file and some slow filing on the Pedestal and the fitment issue went away; remember small steps works the best. Since I needed to clean up the barrel to attach the Spitfire Front Sights I decide to make it a little more fancy, Cerakote would work and my local gun shop did the process; off to West Coast Ammo !
To be honest the Cerakote Process took longer than I expected to complete, what doesn’t these days, but West Coast made it up to me in spades. The coating looked great, the front of the barrel had been cleaned up for mounting the sights, any blemishes were cleaned up and all was good.
Since I purchased the Remington Extension Tube and Nut I needed a new follower and spring. I checked out REM870.com for suggestions, found the S&J Hardware No-Jam Follower and Spring and checked out reviews and found both pieces had good reviews so I purchased them. The follower is a well-formed CNC Machined part, made from Dupont Delrin Plastic, clean, no ridges, fit the Mag Tube and slides inside the tube without any binding, a nice piece. Also, the Follower is self lubricating and impervious to all types of solvents, nice ! The Spring, what can I say, S&J Hardware sells them and got good reviews from the Web and it was suggested by the them, so I got that too. Both pieces fit and worked great.
I am reposting this picture so you get the overall appearance of the Olive Drab Cerakote. The gun was sandblasted, blemishes removed and the coating applied… Nice work West Coast Ammo.
The gun was taken apart for the Cerakote Process and had to be completely reassembled, sights installed and aligned (I still need to sight the gun in) but it shoots well, easy on the shoulder, the wife likes it (a plus) and it is light enough in weight and small enough to handle around the house without worrying about banging into things and it can fire #4 Shot, I don’t want to get in front of it when it goes off !
I had West Coast Ammo’s Gunsmith do the assembly of the gun after the Cerakote Process. The gun was at the shop, the gun needed the front sights aligned and secured and they wanted to see it done ! I was happy to accept their offer and ended up with a great looking and shooting 20-ga Shotgun !
Last thing to mention is the Barrel Machining, it was done by R&D Custom Barrel Service, www.americhoke.com, the owner Bob Day was easy to talk to, listened to what I was looking for and made a few suggestions, one of which was in reference to the Extension Tube use, I had forgotten about the dimples in the OEM Mag Tube, attached to the Receiver, they needed to be removed to use the 2-rd Extension. He also threaded the front end of the new barrel for Choke use, and did a little internal Cone work. All in all R&D Custom Barrel Service did a great job with a good price, fast turn around and shipping.
Any questions about the build… ask, because I am sure I have forgotten something !
Any questions about assembly or disassembly… ask the Site Guru’s or check out the How-To’s !
NOTE: I need to set some boundaries, I am new to Shotguns, mechanically inclined yes but still do not know all of the terms, the processes of assembly and problems that can arise, so please… if you do not know how to work on a REM870… get advice from the Site (REM870.com) or have a Gunsmith do it for you as I did for reassembly. I did use REM870.com for information to install all of the test pieces before the build actually went out for Cerakote so I know the info/How-To’s on the Site works.
Thanks for reading !