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Does your gun still "suffice?" Are you SURE?

3202 Views 26 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  MikeO
"With all of the enhancements now available for fighting shotguns, the venerable Remington 870 will no longer suffice as it comes out of the factory box."

--Just-published report on a $937 pimped-out former 870, writer's name withheld to spare embarassment.

Apparently the number of accessories on the market for your gun can now actually reduce its effectiveness (or its reliablility, or accuracy, or lethality, or range, or something) if you don't have any of them.

I guess my stone-stock Colt SP1 AR-15 must now be completely worthless/useless! Who knew? (Actually, I do have one mod on it--a square A2 front sight post.) And I guess the 1952 police model 870 I just paid $225 for is fit only for the trash.

Maybe the writer's tongue was in his cheek. For the sake of his credibility, I hope so.


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What you have in that picture...

is about the perfect fighting shotgun, in my opinion. A nice recoil pad is about all I'd add to it.

Stand me in front of a rack of scatterguns, and I'll take a plain-jane, bead-sighted riot gun every time. Most of them will plant a slug within a couple of inches of the breastbone at 50 yards, and most will keep them on the torso at 100 if you pay attention to the sights instead of the recoil. There's no adjustments for anybody else to get their fingers in and screw up. Just poke the bead under the breastbone and press. Bring a towel if it's gonna be close.

It's simple. It works. It's not plastic, or "tactical" (spray painted flat black). All things that that I like.
Right Purty too!
Oh Sarge, you da man! My most recent aquisition is an older 870, 20" bead sight barrel, parkerized, cylinder bore, non-checkered buttstock w/buttpad and a ribbed forend. It was stamped "SCHD" (South Carolina Highway Department.) IF it gets any mods, which I am debating, they'll be a 3 shot mag extension and some sling swivels. (My wood isn't as pretty, but I like the plain non-glare finish.)
Simply the best

For most of my active 40 years in law enforcement I had some kind of shotgun close at hand. For 30 of those it was the 870. They are simply the best.

On a burglary call one night back in the '60s I pulled up to a store and opened my trunk and had to choose between my shotgun, which was not an 870, and my M1 Carbine. Fortunately for the burglar I selected the carbine. (If the shotgun had been an 870 I would have chosen it.)

He got one .30 cal round rather than a 12 gauge blast at about 5 yards. He walked out of the hospital in handcuffs a few hours later.
Re: What you have in that picture...

Sarge said:
is about the perfect fighting shotgun, in my opinion. A nice recoil pad is about all I'd add to it.

It's simple. It works. It's not plastic, or "tactical" (spray painted flat black). All things that that I like.
Rock 'n' roll, Sarge. I'm thinking about a recoil pad and a sling for it right now, though you do hate to go defacing wood that's lasted a half a century (the gun's two years older than ME). Stripping the finish off it and giving it about seven lovingly hand-rubbed coats of Tru-Oil, however, is definitely on the schedule for this winter's project.

The only other thing it's getting is a mag extension, already applied. Here's a pic of how it looks now, alongside the Mossy 500 I've owned since 1976. The 500 has rifle sights only because that's the only way I could get it back then--the distributor didn't have a bead-sighted one.

Both guns "will do to ride the river with."

EDIT: Well, crap, the pic-posting doesn't seem to be working this evening. I'll try it again later. :(
This isn't a good picture, but here's my Mossberg 500. It came from the factory with a 20 inch barrel, sling swivels and eight round tube.
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Early '91...

I was the RO for a 50-man Sheriff's Dept. in western MO, and our menagerie of old S&W, etc. pumps was ready for retirement. I had a meager sum to work with and let myself get harangued into buying 590's instead of 870's, in order to get more guns for the money. The 590's had peeps and synthetic stocks, and they were and are good shotguns. I took each one out and sighted it to where you could bust a coffee cup at 50 yards over the top of a squad car, if you could shoot. I noticed they kicked a tad more than I was used to while completing this little task...

I took a 590 to the NRA Instructor school at Topeka that August, and we shot a lot of high-brass 00 buck/slugs through them over the week. The damn sharp line on top of the stock had made a nice purple welt on my cheekbone by the 2nd day. Scraping the mold line off with a pocketknife helped some, but it was still whaling the hell out of me. An old amigo who was there had a new 870, like the one in your photo except for the pad. He loaned it to me to shoot the third day, and my slug scores went up despite the bead sights. I believe I shot a possible with it on the last (qualification) run, if my memory serves.

I always preferred the way 870 handled, but the week at Topeka really drove the point home. The woodstocked 500's are fine too, but I don't care if I never get issued another synthetic one.
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One mod I recommend on 870s for duty/defense is replacing the long Wingmaster style fore end with with the shorter, Police Magnum style. The longer one covers up too much of the loading port when retracted and can interfere with certain administrative tasks. On older guns I also recommend a Flex-Tab conversion.
Rob, I've seen that Flex-Tab conversion mentioned at the Wilson/Scattergun Tech website. What is that, and what does it entail? (Mine has the forend you mentioned.)
If your shell lifter has a thin U-shaped cutout, you don't need the conversion. With this feature, certain malfunctions can be cleared by simply pulling back hard on the fore end. With the old, solid follower, this does not always work.

The parts in the kit are the bolt, carrier (lifter), and slide. There is debate, however, as to whether a new bolt is really necessary.

Brownells sells the kit for $65 retail.

BTW, I erred -- it is properly called "Flexi Tab" by Remington.
With an appropriate snort of derision to gunwriter hyperbole and hearty agreement that it's the operator, not the hardware, that wins the fight; some improvements are--in fact--improvements.

With regard to combat shotguns, I think that the following upgrades actually help the user.

Sights - Be they open or be they ghost-ring, they help with placing slugs precisely and with centering buckshot patterns on the target. We're not trapshooting, where a couple pellets from the fringes of the pattern will suffice to chip the bird. We're trying to keep all of those buckshot pellets on a chest.

Extended safeties - I like the Vang unit. These help one get the safety off more reliably at speed. A good thing.

Extended magazine tubes - Rather than getting all excited over having a couple extra rounds, I think the main benefit of these is that they allow a good basic load of ammo, while still allowing one to leave a "dead space" or two in the magazine to facilitate quickly loading slugs if the need arises. (For those who scorn the "select slug" option and growl about "using a rifle for rifle tasks"; just remember that life is a "run what ya brung" event and that one may not have the option of going and getting a rifle).

On-board ammo carriers - I like the Sidesaddle. However, a quality butt-cuff like the Sparks Cold Comfort does nicely too.

Shortened buttstock - For most users, the factory length-of-pull is too long for best use.

Lights - The Surefire forend lights are the best choice here. While it is pretty easy to use a seperate light with a pistol, it is more difficult and clumsy with a long gun--especially a pump.

All this is not to say that the fight can't be won with a more spartan shotgun. The fight might well be won with just a big stick. Simple is good, if not overdone. Eschewing legitimate improvements would have us all armed with sticks and rocks and crapping in the woods. Where should we have stopped? Matchlocks and outhouses? P.J. O'Rourke wrote that he had a stock, one-word response for those who bemoaned the passing of the "good old days". That response was "dentistry".

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Good points all, Rosco, but lack of any or all of those things does not make a good-running 870 useless or "insufficient." They're icing on the cake; they're candy.

The gun in the article in question had pretty much all that stuff. But NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN DOLLARS for the 870 so equipped? I figger that's pretty much about what I have in my Colt SP-1, AND my 870, AND my Mossberg 500 8-shot PUT TOGETHER. Now which would I rather have--one Superfly Special 870, or my three guns with the ability to arm myself, my kid, and a neighbor should the need arise? (The lovely Mrs. Snake, excellent as she is for most domestic and marital functions, would be utterly worthless in a lethal force encounter or threat management situation. She's Catholic and quite afraid of going to capital-H Hell if she kills one of God's Bad Creatures.)

Gonna try to post this pic one more time. If the board won't take it, I'll try to post a pic of my new midlength AR. Maybe that'll tell me if it's the picture or the board.
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I'm not a shotgunner but I do agree with the theory that everyone should have at least one shotgun. I also went with the 870. Very nice for the money. Nice all around gun.
The things I like on my shotguns:
1. Rifle sights
2. Side Saddle
3. Sling

That's it.
So I figure most people here prefer the Remington 870 over the Mossy 500/590. What do you guys think of the Winchester 1300?
The Winchester 1200/1300 series are USRAC guns, and not to be confused with any of the original Winchesters from when Olin was manufacturing firearms. (Oooooooooooooooh, I still regret not getting one of those great ol' Super-Xs and setting it up the way John Shaw did his when he ruled the Three-Gun matches a quarter of a century ago!)

The only one of the USRAC Winchester series for which I ever had a hankering was their intermittently-produced "Mariner" guns in the mid-'80s, and I'm not sure why their smoothbores weren't more popular.

For my part, I've never been a big 870 fan, much preferring the more affordable and, at the time, better-designed S&W Model 3000. That 870 "lifter" problem earlier referenced in this thread was a serious concern to anyone who ever experienced one, and the Japanese addressed that one from the jump, and rumor hath it that it was the (modest) success of the Model 3000 which spurred Remington to come up with their Flexi-Tab "fix."

I have one Model 870 which the shadowy John Mattera presented me as thanks for editing his first book… it was an adjunct of one of his enterprises on which he failed to follow-through. It was an "Express" model to which he added Ghost Rings, a tritium front post, an over-sized safety button (not, unfortunately, the recommended by Rosco-san) and an extended tube. I played around with it for awhile, and it is now on it's way to become part of the battery of Rob's and my Lodge 1201 (foreshadowing here) brother, Arizeder, in its present configuration with the RamLine fore end, having had the Vang Choke/Vang Comp process performed somewhere along the line.

Essentially, when it comes to smoothbores, I'm a Beretta 1201 FP3 kinda guy, hence the cognomen by which our "Lodge" is known. (This might help to decipher Schmit's "sig" sometime.) Mine has the Gunsite roll-mark, and it does exactly what I want a shotgun to do, given that I've never ventured into the nearby Atlantic Flyway with one on my life.

I've always described it as "the Thinking Gunperson's Super 90" at about half the price. It is lightweight, fast-handling and utterly reliable, and I never had an opportunity to fully debrief the late Mark Penman, another strong advocate of the FP3, about his apparent late-life conversion to the Model 870.

I think that's about all I have to say about shotguns…
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Snake45 said:
Good points all, Rosco, but lack of any or all of those things does not make a good-running 870 useless or "insufficient." They're icing on the cake; they're candy.
But I like candy!...and cake without icing
is likecommunist or somethin'!!!

We do have to weigh our expenditures wisely and
the cost of upgrading one's 870 might be better spent
on other/additional weapons, lap dances, or jewelry
for the wife (after coming home smelling of lap dancers).

I like a ghost ring and a blade fs on my shotgun... 'course my M1 is done up like Deano's 1201. Other than that, limited capacity and slow to reload, I'll stick with my carbine.
I don't have an 870 BUT, I do have a nice A H Fox double 12. Uses 00 Buck very well. 8)

Also have a Remmington Mod 87 pump that does quite nicely with slugs. :twisted:

These and my Colts, .45 ACP & .38 Super will do me any time.

All them things are nice to have but as the man said, "do you really need them". Do wish for an 870 or other slug gun once in awhile, though.
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