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Old June 19, 2012, 10:19 PM   #10
azsixshooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 22, 2007
Location: Pinckney, MI
Posts: 637
I have an 870 Express Mag w/21" rem-choked bbl and bead sights. I had installed a sidesaddle and sling and magnetic fiber optic sight in front of the bead and that was my "tactical 12" for many years. Eventually I took off the sidesaddle because I liked a slimmer, more natural look and the lighter weight (not having the extra 6 rounds and steel mounting plate on the side). Not to mention I don't like having to dig out a hex key to remove my trigger assembly.

I patterned my barrel (this 21" vented rib barrel seems to shoot everything great though) and I shot it A LOT. That configuration has given me yeoman's service over the years, I always sleep well at night with it close at hand and I've always said that if I can't handle the problem with that shotgun then I probably need a squad of US Marines!

Well, I was offered a good deal on some Trijicon ghost ring sites, but due to the vented rib bbl I was worried it would be a hassle to get them installed and that it would never look right to me and might cost me some elevation adjustment range. I decided I'd buy a new 18.5" police barrel and then drill and tap the receiver.

I got to looking around and had trouble finding that bbl in stock anywhere. Also, the ones I was seeing were polished black and wouldn't match my matte Express receiver/mag tube.

I found a Remington replacement bbl that was 18.5" with tritium rifle sights and a fixed modified choke. I always keep the modified rem-choke in my current bbl and it works super for both shot and foster's slugs. Since I don't have to drill the receiver and mount the rear ghost ring sight with this new bbl I can easily swap on a dedicated cantilever slug bbl with a scope if I want to shoot sabots. This bbl is $183 at Midwayusa.com.

Since I was adding the new bbl I went ahead and picked up a Scattergun Technologies 2 rd mag extension with the right hand side sling mount, a VTAC padded sling and stock adapter, a Streamlight weapon mount for my Streamlight M3, a Scattergun Tech oversized head safety and 50 rounds of that nice mil-grade winchester 00 buckshot.

That gives me rifle-style night sights (still bummed I don't have the ghost rings I've always wanted but it's okay), a great tactical sling that I can use in many situations from hunting to home defense to recreational shooting (a sling to a long-gun is what a holster is to a pistol), a shorter/handier bbl, 2 extra rounds (or one extra round and a one round free space per Lewis Awerbuck's recommendation in "The Defensive Shotgun"), a weapon-mounted light, hi-viz follower and upgraded mag spring and a faster-off safety that's easier to index under stress.

I'm pretty happy with that set-up. I was thinking about going with a collapsible stock with the recoil reduction, but I think I'm just going to trim an inch off the factory stock and see how that feels.

I know this is a lengthy response, but that is pretty much what I consider a minimalistic approach to enhancing a regular old 870. Not to mention I picked up AGI's "Building the Fighting 870" and "Remington 870 Armorer's Course" dvds. I will watch them over again and see if there's any internal parts I need to replace, but this shotgun has been ridiculously reliable for almost 20 years and it hasn't let me down yet. But like someone posted previously there might be a better dog carrier spring that I will think about replacing. There is also a feature that newer 870's have called a "flex tab" that will help prevent some kinds of jams that older models were susceptible to. I'd get that if I didn't already have it.

The original finish is holding up on this gun great, but I'm kicking around the idea of doing some nice kind of home camo pattern with dura-coat and some local native leaves for the patterning. But I'm not sure about that yet.

Mostly, I just want to put this thing together, take a grip of ammo and get up to my uncle's farm for some major trigger time! If anything, I'll devote any future spending towards getting setup to reload so I can afford to shoot more high-quality ammo. I'm even planning to check the feasibility of casting my own buckshot pellets. After I put a LOT more ammo through this gun and get some good training I might think about other alterations, but until then I think I'm standing pat after this round of upgrades!

Hope this all helps, I was searching these forums myself today for the same kind of thing. What a tremendous resource TFL is! Thanks to all the long-time members who have contributed so much to this community!

Oh, on a side-note I am trying to think of some kind of secure storage strategy for this weapon. I would like a hidden kick panel or something like that where I could keep it stashed when I'm not home but it seems like that would be tough to implement as a DIY project and since I rent I doubt my landlord would let me cut up the drywall. So now I am thinking about some kind of vertical vehicle mounted rack that I might be able to install in the house by affixing to the wall studs. I don't know, I'm a ways away from figuring that out, but I want to keep it secure (we have a few kids including a toddler) and ready for action.
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Last edited by azsixshooter; June 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM.
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