View Full Version : Modify 870 or M97 for home defense?
September 4, 1999, 04:33 AM
I'dlike to modify one of these two field guns for home defense. The 870 is a Wingmaster, virtually new, with a 28 inch ribbbed barrel, choked modified. The Winchester Model 97, my grandfather's, has a 30 inch barrel, full choke, and has seen a lot of use. (No collector's item here, but no abuse either.) It seems that one of them should end up with an 18 inch barrel and an open choke, around six or more rounds magazine capacity. The goal is to keep modification expenses minimal. The 870 is about 20 years old; the M97 is from the teens or '20s.
Any thoughts on which to convert, and how much such a conversion might cost? The unmodified gun would be kept for waterfowl and upland hunting, but used only a few time a year. And probably re-choked for the purpose.
I've shot the M97 and another 870 extensively, and would feel comfortable using either for either purpose.
Your suggestions are much appreciated.
September 4, 1999, 07:23 AM
An 18.5" barrel for the Rem 870 is about $80 and a magazine extension is about $35. You would still be able to use the 870 as a field gun. None of these modifications are perminant.
September 4, 1999, 09:20 AM
I would have to agree with CHUCKO. I own several 97's and I would not modify them for any reason. As Chucko states, the 870 modifications are not permanent and you can still use it for field use.
September 4, 1999, 03:17 PM
DeadCalm, I know the 870 is a snap to change from a home defense shotgun to a hunting shotgun, and back again. As a matter of fact, this month's (9/99) NRA's American Guardian magazine has an article titled 'Personal Defense Shotguns are Versatile' by Michael Bussard on page 30. They illustrate the piece with examples of a Remington M870 HD, Mossberg M500 and Benelli M-3, and discuss all of the options.
Hans Vang recommends the factory Remington 18" barrels over the Mossberg replacement barrels for the 870, and I think those run a bit more than the $80 noted. Also consider a sidesaddle and / or butt cuff - Speedfeed stocks are interesting as well (hold 4 shells). If you want to go wild, check out a SureFire foreend - they come with a plug, so you can pull out the light attachment when you're hunting or using the gun for trap / skeet.
It would appear that any aftermarket option is always offered for the 870, and I would assume at lower cost (but I've never really checked that out).
Good luck. Regards from AZ
[This message has been edited by Jeff Thomas (edited September 04, 1999).]
September 4, 1999, 03:33 PM
Focusing only on one thing you said that being you want to keep costs to a minimum. If you have a hack saw you can cut the bbl of your 870 yourself. So your cost would be nothing. Personally I would find a gunsmith to do it. For about $35-65 you should be able to find someone who will cut the bbl to 18" re-install the front bead and even thread the barrel for a screw in choke. You'll notice an interesting thing with 870 vent rib barrels. The front of 2 of the rib supports end at almost exactly 18" and 20". I had mine cut down at the 20" mark and use it not only for home protection but also for hunting. Many will argue that 20" isn't enough barrel length for a field gun, but personnaly I like it and have shot Ducks and other game with it. I also had a middle of the rib bead sight installed. I couln't believe how much of a difference this mid rib bead made in my shooting.
It's amazing what a large group of stupid people can accomplish.
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