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|