The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 3, 2010, 08:17 PM   #1
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
HD shotgun start-up

Hey y'all,
Not to start a 500 vs. 870 debate...but...

I'm a 24 year old medical student, and for Christmas, I got my first gun,
an 870 Express.
My family all chipped in and bought me a new one for $350 at a Bass Pro.
I have the receipt and they told me that if I wanted a different gun, to go ahead and return it.
At this point, I was thinking 350 was a bit steep for an Express.

I would be using this primarily for HD, although when I had time, I'd like to go shoot skeet/targets/etc. I wouldn't mind springing money for an alternate long barrel when I get the chance to do just that.

What I'm asking is:
A.) Stick with the 350 dollar express
or can I find a
B.) Used 870 Police for ~350
or
C.) Mossberg 500

I was really leaning towards B.) but I don't know where I would begin looking for a used 870P, I have very little shotgun/gun experience, so I really don't know anywhere on the web I could look for competitive pricing. Top that all off with the fact that I just moved to Southern Florida, so I don't know any gun clubs around here; and the semester is just starting, so I don't have a lot of free time to driving all over even if I did.

Is an 870P in good condition even an option with my budget range?
I like the safety on the 870, as a left-hander with big hands (I'm about 6'4" so the 12 gauge is what I need) it really works well for me. I keep reading that the Express is an inferior weapon, and I don't want something that won't perform consistently well. I've got a wife I'll be leaving at home when I'm out on rotations.
I really appreciate y'alls help.
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 08:36 PM   #2
Creeper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: Woooooshington
Posts: 1,797
You didn't state what model Express... what barrel length does it currently have? Where exactly are you reading that the 870 Express is an inferior gun? Inferior compared to what?

As to your wife, do you even know that she can handle the 870 safely and accurately, or would she be better served with some type of handgun or rifle?

You can do it all with one shotgun, but you seldom can do everything well with one shotgun.

"Free internet advice... the most valuable kind"
The best shotgun in the whole world is one that's used on a regular basis. Instead of worrying about your current gun or your next guns intrensic value, you and your wife go out and shoot the thing until it's worn out. You'll both be better for it.

Oooops, almost forgot. Welcome to TFL Doc!

Cheers,
C
__________________
Shoulder Drive Nicholson Club

Last edited by Creeper; January 3, 2010 at 08:38 PM. Reason: The welcome wagon is often broken down...
Creeper is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 08:41 PM   #3
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
I feel that the price is higher than I like... Personally, I love the controls layout on the 500 far and above better than the 870.

If the 500 is less than the 870 (should be), the extra can go towards ammo...

For around that price, the 500 with a long barrel and HD shortie may be had...

But as a gift, if thought went into the purchase, I would likely keep the one they got me...

Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 08:48 PM   #4
noyes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 1,032
Quote:
I love the controls layout on the 500 far and above better

Quote:
the 500 with a long barrel and HD shortie may be had


Go get it , stop a Wal Mart in the glass case they have federal 12 ga. shells $4.67 a box. ( always clean a new or new to you gun before shooting it )


Go to the range and SHOOT it.
noyes is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 08:53 PM   #5
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Thanks guys!
My wife was raised shooting, she has years of shotgun, pistol, and rifle experience. A real quality Southern gal. And she's a regular athlete and weightlifter, so the 12 gauge doesn't give her any problems. Unfortunately, all those guns belong to her father.
I'm a rifles guy, took a couple of courses in them through undergrad and I'm most familiar with them but I've done pistols and shotguns here and there. I'm by no means an expert. But I'm willing to learn.

I've been reading across the net not that the Express is a BAD gun, but simply inferior to the Police. Not as well refined, not the same level of care put into its production and inspection. The trigger guard is mold injected metal instead of solid aluminum. Larger magazine capacity.
Others have said that the Police is a more durable gun, but I haven't been able to validate that officially.
At 350 dollars, my folks and little brother expressed the same concern, but they were pressed for time, and Bass Pro was right down the road. Trust me when I say I approached this with much thought, because this is one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts I've ever received.
The Express I have is currently equipped with a 28" barrel. If I kept it, I'd be switching out for a 20" or 18" unless I'm taking it out hunting or shooting.

I plan on practicing with it as much as possible, don't worry about that Creeper. I'm a cautious man by nature, and practice makes perfect.

My main concern, after doing as much research on my own, was the price of the gun, and if I might get a better deal or firearm elsewhere, or if Bass Pro was my best bet.

Thank y'all for the response and the warm welcome!
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 08:53 PM   #6
jrothWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2006
Posts: 1,961
Use it, you can get a..

slug barrel for it or a 24" to use choke tubes.

Assumiing it has a 28" barrel with tubes, you can use it for regular trap with modified choke or the 24" with Skeet or IC for skeet shooting.

Clay seems to like the 26" with a IC or MOD choke for the various presentation of the clays.
jrothWA is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:14 PM   #7
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
Your welcome!
As for slug barrel, the smoothbore would be my choice. But a regular cheap short 18.5-22 would suffice. For a 'berg, they run right at a hundred bucks. They often have a combo with 28 and a shorter barrel. It will be an HD, turkey or slug barrel so look close.

The most common complaint I see in the express is rough chamber and non polished steel, then blued making them more prone to rust.

FWIW, The Maverick 88 is basically a 500 with crossbolt safety rather than top of tang. I am pretty sure the combo on that gun is less than that express you got...
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:24 PM   #8
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
Quote:
I'm about 6'4" so the 12 gauge is what I need
One has nothing to do with the other - get a 12 because you want it, it offers loadings you want or need, not because it is just a 12. (The same holds true when folks think they need to get a wife/GF a 20).

12 gauge is more versatile - more ammunition types for many purposes. It can be loaded as light as a 20 or 28 easier then they can be loaded up like a 12. It is more popular for HD, waterfowl hunting, turkey and deer hunting, sporting clays, trap, and other uses, making it a great choice - all of which have nothing to do with someone's size.

Get what feels right, and fits - then go out and shoot a lot; and when you're done, buy more ammunition and shoot some more
oneounceload is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:31 PM   #9
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Thank you,
What I was attempting to say was that I'm not a little person, so the 12 gauge is not problematic. i.e. I'm not an 11 year-old with his 20 gauge.

As you can see though, I'm not a gun expert, so I'm trying to learn here. Any other advice y'all have and I'm all for it.

I'm looking for a solid gun that will last for a long long time and if the Express can handle that, I'll stick with it. I just want to make sure I'm getting a good dependable piece with the best value for my dollar. Versatility is a great thing, because Med school is expensive and money is tight, I'd like a gun that can do a lot of things decently/well.

In the mean time, I'll head out to Wal-Mart this week, and see if they have some I can hold, y'alls advice on finding one that best fits me seems particularly intelligent, and I feel kind of dumb for not doing that sooner. I just knew I liked the 870's safety and feel as whole and I settled on it, never even tried out the Mossberg.

Any more advice is more than welcome.
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:39 PM   #10
the rifleer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2008
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 1,257
i would just keep what you have. all the various 870 models have the same basic parts. what makes them different from each other is the barrels, the stocks, the magazine capacities, the finish etc...

if yours has a long barrel, invest in a shorter one for hd. you can have a long one for hd, but a 20'' or 18" is ideal.

i love the mossberg 500, but as long as you know your way around your 870 well you shouldn't have any problems. there is not true "which is better", its all just a matter of preference. i would suggest taking it to a shooting range and firing several hundred rounds through it to get it broken in and to get to know it well.
the rifleer is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:41 PM   #11
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
If you keep the express, polishing the chamber is a very easy task to under take...

The reason I like the controls layout on a 500 is I can have the gun in full mount and operate the safety and slide release without letting go with either hand... Actually I can operate both with my trigger hand while in any position without letting go.

But to each his own and both are a very venerable platform for a reliable hunting or defensive arm... not the finest clay sports guns but both will bring home the bacon!
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:45 PM   #12
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Thanks guys.
Assuming I do keep the express, is there a specific place I can buy a short barrel for cheap?
How would I go about learning to polish the chamber hogs?

I'm willing to learn, but help would be appreciated.
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:49 PM   #13
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
Believe it or not... Mossberg makes a barrel for the 870 and it is likely as affordable as possible as are all of their offerings...
http://www.mossberg.com/products/acc...section=access
Scroll on down to next to last section near bottom... $103... I will leave the remington brand price search to you...
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:51 PM   #14
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
It is all over this section but most suggest 0000 steel wool on a bore brush... One length of cleaning rod chucked into a drill a few minutes later and it will be as fine as frogs hair.
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:54 PM   #15
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Brent,
Thanks for the help man. I appreciate the advice and the help.
As well as everyone else.
Any further input and that would be great. I won't be making a permanent decision for a week or two, depending on class-load. So if anyone has input I'd love to hear it.
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 09:59 PM   #16
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
and if you use look in pawn shops, you can probably find a used barrel for less than new.

Fit is important. Pumps are inexpensive and do a lot of things decently. IMO, they do not do some things as well as other more task-specific guns, but they can do the job.

Example - shooting trap, skeet or sporting clays - yes, a pump CAN be used, but you don't see the winners using one - they're using an O/U or semi. Yes you CAN use one for waterfowl, but you usually see a semi. But for a first gun to get started, a pump is hard to beat.
oneounceload is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 10:05 PM   #17
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Thanks guys.

Is there a site for me to learn basics? Cleaning, storage, upkeep, etc.?

Further down the road, if I wanted to add a magazine extension or something?


Also, someone noted earlier that the magazine of the 870 is attached to the gun as a whole, so if it is damaged, the gun is scrap. Did I understand that correctly? Is this a frequent problem?
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 10:12 PM   #18
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkPJHzw4PXg
This is the best video I found for stripping. Cleaning is pretty obvious once it is tore down.

Just search you tube for 870 with a key word of interest for jillions of various vids.
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 10:16 PM   #19
mjsmith1223
Junior Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12
Learning the basics: Here (TheFiringLine) and shotgunworld.com are great places to start and ask lots of questions. Also, ask your father-in-law to show you some of the maintenance basics. Since he was thoughtful enough to teach his daughter to shoot, I'm sure he will be more than happy to share his wisdom with you. Really though, if you already familiar with maintaining a rifle, a shotgun isn't so different. Your learning curve will be short.
mjsmith1223 is offline  
Old January 3, 2010, 10:16 PM   #20
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
BTW, your gun does need a *full tear down* and deep cleaning before use...

*NEVER TEAR DOWN THE ACTUAL TRIGGER GROUP UNLESS YOU ARE A PRO!!!*
All it needs is sprayed out with a gun spray and shook out followed by a drop of oil on obvious moving parts... And if you accidentally pu;ll the trigger, it needs reset to reassemble
Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 4, 2010, 06:37 PM   #21
Lee Lapin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2004
Location: SE NC
Posts: 1,238
Doc,

Don't obsess too much over this. Any good pumpgun will do, if the shooter will do. Doesn't matter too much whose name is stamped into it as long as it's reliable.

I've been shooting 870s for going on 40 years now, and have yet to own a new one. So you're already ahead of me there 8^). I wouldn't mind someone giving me a new one though. But if you find something you like better, that fits you better, I see no reason not to do the trade-in you were talking about. As to the price, it's about run of the mill, pretty much, There may be a rebate available- I'd look into that if I were you.

To people who ask 'what shotgun should I get,' I always advise trying to get some trigger time on other peoples' shotguns if possible- family, friends, co-workers might take you to the range for some shooting with their shotguns if you ask. It would be mannerly if you bought your own ammo though.

If that fails, some gun clubs or shooting ranges have rental shotguns. That might be a possibility. As a last place option, handling different makes/models at various gun shops will help some, but not IMHO as much as actually shooting different guns. You might have some time constraints to work under that might curtail your opportunities in these approaches however, I don't know. If you're in SE NC or NE SC, drop me a PM.

As to learning the basics, as with most new things, RTFM. Which means 'read that fine manual,' the owners manual that came with the gun. Remington has a good basic presentation on their website to explain how different shotguns work- see http://www.remington.com/pages/news-...y-courses.aspx fwiw. For field stripping the first time, having someone on hand who has done it before can be a help, though an 870 is pretty user friendly.

As to magazine tube worries, I have yet to have that kind of trouble- but I use clamps on magazine extensions and don't use the gun as a club or hammer. There's a mandrel in the 870 tool kit to raise dents in magazine tubes, if that's the only problem. If it's worse than a dent, then the magazine tube might need to be replaced- and that's a factory level job.

I wouldn't worry overmuch about the gun being an Express either. I have had several of them over the years, and there's nothing wrong with them. If I had a newer model Express with magazine tube dimples, I'd leave it as a 4-shot magazine and not try to remove the dimples at this point. In the long run it isn't worth it IMHO. If you really want a magazine extension, trade in your existing gun on the model that has a factory extension ( http://www.remington.com/products/fi...c-7-round.aspx ).

The last 870 barrel I got a good deal on was right here in the accessories for sale forum about a month ago. Shop around, there are deals to be had.

hth,

lpl
__________________
Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.
Lee Lapin is offline  
Old January 4, 2010, 07:35 PM   #22
DocSouth
Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2010
Posts: 27
Hey guys,
took your advice and went to look at some shotguns first hand. After hearing people rave about both the Mossberg and the Remington, I wanted to keep an open mind.
The Mossberg fits wayyyy better for some reason. The safety being on top makes it much more convenient for a lefty like myself.

I'll be heading to pawn shops and gun stores this weekend to give a look around.
Is there an average price I should be looking for?
The Remington was 350 for my family, but Wal-Mart was carrying it for 287.
Likewise, Wally world carried the Mossberg for 217 dollars.
DocSouth is offline  
Old January 4, 2010, 07:44 PM   #23
Trapshooterx
Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 2008
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 34
I would keep the 870. I have one for deer and one in my patrol car. I don't see a difference. Well, other than the police model has a 14 inch bbl I saw someone mentioned a Maverick 88 stay away from that one. I had one and hated it. I had a side scope mount on it. If I tightened the screws too much it would pinch the receiver and it would not operate.

Last edited by Trapshooterx; January 4, 2010 at 07:44 PM. Reason: I can't spell
Trapshooterx is offline  
Old January 4, 2010, 08:06 PM   #24
hogdogs
Staff In Memoriam
 
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
Quote:
If I tightened the screws too much it...
Too much being the operative statement...
Personally, short of a .270, .308 or .30-06 I see no use for scopes Never on a SHOTGUN!

Not only look for a used 500 but look online and in shops for a combo set... 18 inch HD, 20-24 inch slug barrel (make sure it is smooth bore, not rifled if HD is planned), 20-24 inch "turkey" barrel along with a 28 inch vent rib accu-choke threaded field barrel makes a hard to beat set up. The barrel swap is literally a one minute ordeal if you count in the time to walk to the gun locker to get the gun out...

Two points of note... A mossberg has no "staked" components so if these need replaced it is easy and limitless. The other is the mag tube on a mossberg is a simple threaded affair that is "user serviceable" which is, according to 870 folks, not an easily replaced item.

Brent
hogdogs is offline  
Old January 6, 2010, 01:35 AM   #25
jrothWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2006
Posts: 1,961
Weell now, you being a Southpaw...

why not consider the Ithaca M37, load mag & eject thru the bottom.
Think Williams Gunsite still offer a LH safety conversion.
jrothWA is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12248 seconds with 7 queries