View Full Version : What barrel length 870 should I get?

Jamie Young
June 24, 2002, 08:36 PM
I do have a 16gauge o/u that I take out for small game, but I'd like to get an Remington 870. I would like to be able to use it for sporting clays, home defense and small game. What would be ideal for me?

June 24, 2002, 08:46 PM
Two barrels. They're cheap if you shop around and so quick to swap, why not.
A 28" for clay games and an 18 or 20 for HD. I use my 20"ers for everything but many folks frown when I show up for clay bustin' with an 870 in evil shortgun attire.
I have heard of some ranges banning anything shorter than 26" (snobs) but I do not know of any personally.
If we ever have a W&W pumpgun shoot, I'll gladly let ya try mine.

Shootin' at French Creek this weekend Soda!

Jamie Young
June 24, 2002, 08:53 PM
I think the 18 is too short. I'd probable go with a 20 until they ban them at W&W. What's the price range for barrels? I've seen 870's go for under $200 but I can't find them anywhere for less than about $280.:eek: I could pick up a standard 870 but I kind of like the synthetic stocks with a shoulder strap( I know I'm not the professional sporting clays type). I think I might get one pretty soon. With this heat wave going on, I've gotten a pay raise :D I need one before the shoot.

Jamie Young
June 24, 2002, 08:57 PM
What kind of chokes should I get? I really don't have a need for slugs but I do plan on keeping buckshot around. What do I need for changing chokes?

June 24, 2002, 09:41 PM
If you get the 870 SP you get the middle bead, a white front bead, sling swivel stud and cap, and 3 chokes. The stock on an SP is a little better as well. The express synthetic stock is a plastic POS. It will be a little more money than an express synthetic, but cheaper if that is stuff you will get eventually. It also has a MUCH better finish on it, it is parkerized and the express is painted. Putting a sling on an express will cost you about $40 alone and chokes are $20 a pop. The SP is the best deal in an 870. The 870 balances a hair further rear than most of the gas guns, so a 28 barrel moves pretty well. A 26 makes them feel whippy to me. If you are going to shoot the clay games get the 28, and pop for a short barrel at a gunshow. You can get the old fixed choke barrels for under $75 and then have it chopped for less than $25. You can buy a new 20" cylinder choke barrel made by mossberg for about $110, a bit more with rifle sights on it. For sporting clays shooting buy a Hastings improved cylinder, and for trap a Hastings light modified. The hastings extended chokes are about $5 more than a remongton choke but are WAY better quality. The remington chokes are GARBAGE, out of round and wrong constriction are very likely. Hope this helps, let me know if you need more info.

June 24, 2002, 10:21 PM

I agree, get one with two barrels. One short for HD and other for the bird games.

You may want to pick up a $199 Remington 870 Express special at Dick's Sporting Goods (sale price, not regular) and buy the synthetic stock afterwards.

The only thing you need to change chokes are the choke wrench (included with each gun) and extra chokes. Choke tubes are available at most gun shops.

As for what choke is best with buckshot, that is typically a manner of personal preference. Try the major chokes (F, M, IC) and see which one your gun likes the best. Generally, for HD distances, IC or Cylinder bore will do best, as that open choke lessens the chance of deformation of the pellets, causing them to fly straighter.

You may also want to look into Vang Comp (vangcomp.com) or Patternmaster (patternmaster.com) options for tighter buckshot patterns.

Lastly, you will want to get rid of the PC internal lock by swapping out the part with a non-locking safety from Brownell's. Then you will want to get rid of the long slide that prevents you from installing the 6-shell TacStar Sidesaddle -- or you can buy the 4-shell model instead. Take a drill or Dremel and drill/buff out the magazine dimples that limit magazine capacity.


Jamie Young
June 24, 2002, 10:35 PM
Is Dick's having a sale now?

Master Blaster
June 25, 2002, 08:05 AM
I bought an 870 express at walmart for $239 with a 28" remchoke barrel, ribbed with a bead sight, (removable chokes comes with an Improved Cylinder tube installed) that was 3 weeks ago.

I then ordered a 20" rifle sighted remmington smoothbore barrel from cabellas for $120 Including shipping (the 109.99 barrel on their website) the finish matches perfectly. The finish is black oxide, I like it it looks serious and holds CLP well, the 20" barrel matched perfectly.

I kind of like the synthetic stock that came on mine it has a thick rubber recoil pad. for $40 you can add the Wilson extended tube with a sling swivel.

Mine has the dimples and the locking safety. the safety does not bother me and could come in handy at some point.
The dimples can be removed.

Dave McC
June 25, 2002, 09:43 AM
Lots of options here, Sodapop. Here's a few ideas for you...

One, depending on what regs your local ranges promulgate, a 18-20" bbl may not be allowed there.
If it is,use that for clays. A short bbled 870 with an open choke does a very good impersonation of a quail gun, BTW. And if you learn to acquire a little clay Frisbee moving at 35-50 MPH and blow it to smithereens, using that same shotgun in a crisis means you've got a nice advantage on much larger, slower targets.

Two, most folks prefer a longer bbl for longer sight radius(Silly, we POINT shotguns, not aim them),more inertia to keep the swing swinging, and cut the blast. Scores at trap with Frankenstein, my 21" bbled parts gun,run a bird or two behind those with my 870 TB, with its 30 bbl. The swing's the things.Best of both worlds is easy, get two bbls.

Three, a good cost effective way to do this is to keep one's eyes peeled for used 870s, including the nigh mythical police turnins. If the 870 you buy has a short bbl, buy a long second bbl, like a 28" job with Remchokes. If you find a nice long bbled 870, most police style gunshops have 18 and 20" plain bbls excellent for crisis management at low prices.DML had some for sale recently at great prices, maybe he has some left.

As for buck, like Justin says, it takes time and testing to find the best for YOUR shotgun. Same wiht chokes, they're interelated as West VA hillbillies.


June 25, 2002, 12:28 PM
I just cruised over to Dick's in Plymouth (near one of your stores I think) and they do not have a sale on 870's.
They have a 20" rifle-sighted Express for 249.00 and two other Express' for 299.00. One was a 20" rifled & rifle-sighted and one was a 28" VR (I think).
They do have 12 Ga. Rem All-Purpose #8 on sale for 2.78 / box of 20 though.
I will check Wally World when I get a chance.

June 25, 2002, 04:48 PM
My best all-'round shotgun is an 870 Express Turkey - 21" bbl, double bead, vent ribber (with screw-in chokes).

Yup, the gun 1) points where I do, the vent allows 2) a quick(er) refinement, if needed) & the double bead 3) doubles that. Surprising enough accuracy (if ever needed) to 50 yards+) ... I figure a 3X "aiming system" in a very "low tech/no screw-up system." Very tight-enough slug patterns at 50 yards & plenty good enough with anything standard shot.

The 21" vent rib, double bead bbl is the quickest, most accurate barrel I've ever owned. Plus is = it's the switch-choke system = whatever choke I'd want - turkeys to quail.

I'm not too shabby with the iron-sighted 18" bbl IMP cyclinder barrel neither, which can be used for an all 'round shooter - but that tends to shoot high for everything but slugs 'n buck .... besides not tight enough for teh "all-'round" winner.

Give me a 21" vent, switch-choke, double bead in 12 gauge all told. May be the best all 'round bbl length, gauge & yada .....

Works for me & that should be plenty good enough fer you youngsters .... :D

June 25, 2002, 07:37 PM
Soda, check the newspaper flyers for when Dick's has sales -- you can get 870 Express guns pretty cheap then.


June 25, 2002, 08:07 PM
I have a 26" bareled 870 with the interchangable chokes, it has been a great hunting shotgun. I've used it with steel shot for ducks, and shot a lot of doves with it. I've yet to take a turkey with it but I think it would do a good job.

There was a shotgun side match at the IDPA shoot in Easton last weekend, so I picked up a 20" barrel at Dicks for $109. It's smooth bore but has rifle sights. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the shotgun competition started so I can't give a report on it yet. I need to adjust the sights for slugs anyway.

I did notice that Dicks had an 870 with 20 inch barrel and an extended mag tube for about $260. They usually have good sales right before hunting season, too.

Master Blaster
June 26, 2002, 12:03 PM
Dick's they are correctly named. Last august 2001 I went in on day one of their advertised sale on 870 expresses. the price was $240, they did not have one in 12 gauge. So they gave me a raincheck, they dont order guns they said. May 15, 2002 I hear from them that my 870 is in. 28" vent rib bead. $3 more than wally world. I told them to keep it.

If you want to shoot skeet or clays you are better off getting a 28" barrel with the gun and ordering the 20" rifle sight smoothbore from cabellas. The combo deals with two barrels seem to include wood furniture, and a rifled 21"barrel which is only good for sabot slugs and they run around $360 for the 12 gauge version.

The 28" remmington barrel with remchokes is more expensive ordered seperately than the 20" smoothbore RS, and you will pay the same for the gun with any barrel included it seems.

June 26, 2002, 04:19 PM
Look around for a used Wingmaster with 28" barrel. Best combination. Older guns are better and you don't have to deal with PC safety and in some cases dimples.

Look for a used 20" barrel,. they always seem to pop up at gun shows and used gun racks.

Check the BB at W & W, or put up a card yourself, maybe someone has one they will sell.

As to chokes, you need Skeet, IC Mod and Full. I like Briley extended chokes, they seem to throw better patterns and are easier to change out. I have had mixed results with Remchokes.

The remington plastic stocks are crappy. Speed Feed (Cabelas) are much better and aren't that expensive. If you buy an old gun and decide to put on the plastic, I have the proper wrench to take off the forend.

Jamie Young
August 1, 2002, 10:31 PM
Just got in from checking out a bunch of over priced 870s.

If I get a 20inch barrel that is "rifled" would it screw up the rifling if I was shooting buck shot or shot threw it? Or would I just get a lousy pattern? Do rifled barrels have chokes?

Dave McC
August 2, 2002, 04:47 AM
Rifled bbls are not for any shot loads, not even buck. They're for slugs, and usually sabots only.

The sales for the chain stores should be starting, keep your eyes open and see what comes up.


Al Thompson
August 2, 2002, 06:28 AM
Soda, rifled barrels throw a really weird donut shaped pattern. Totally unacceptable, IMHO.

Friend of mine just had to try it..

Jamie Young
August 2, 2002, 11:15 AM
I'm heading up to Donns gun shop today. Hopefully I'll find a decent used one. NONE of the chain stores around here have good prices right now. Two places I went to don't even have shotguns anymore.:rolleyes: :mad:

August 2, 2002, 03:00 PM
Donn's rocks! I handled about a dozen 870's there one day. Talk about getting a good understanding for the difference between a modern Express and the old Wingmasters!
Good luck,

Jamie Young
August 2, 2002, 04:57 PM
Donn's rocks!

And so does this fine 870 I'm holding in my hands:D

I settled for a 26in barrel. I think I wield it better than the 28 they had, and the 20in one was too short for dove hunting. I need this gun for dove this month. I don't know if I'm going to need a 20in now. I actually think this thing is just fine. I really have to add a little bit more to the butt on this thing. The Last time I went out with 9mmMike was the final straw in punching Myself in the nose. I have a "roman nose" and I'm sick of punching myself.

I put one of those slip on things for the butt, but it wasn't very sturdy. I need an inch on this thing. I all ready had two operations in the last 3yrs, so I don't want to smack Myself in the formerly operated on areas.:eek:

August 2, 2002, 05:15 PM
Wingmaster or Express???

'cmon don't keep us in suspense!

Now you have no excuse not to show up at the Shotgun shoot, whenever I can herd the TFL cats to have one:rolleyes:

You may just need to put spacers between the wood and recoil pad. any half baked gunsmith can do this. Slip on pads are OK as a temporary measure.

(And now I don't have to leave you my 870 in my will:D )

Jamie Young
August 2, 2002, 06:26 PM
Guess!:D :p

Do you want to buy a vowel?:D

(And now I don't have to leave you my 870 in my will )

I got divs on the AR then.:D Why don't you just give it to me now instead of later. What if you live until your 300yrs old? I can't wait that long.

I don't think some of you realize how big of a deal this is. Maybe Geoff knows, but its taken me over 10yrs to actually get one of these. I've been procrastinating about getting a Remington 870,GP100, Sig229 and XM15E2 for about 10yrs. Well I finally got one of them.:rolleyes:

August 2, 2002, 10:06 PM
26" barrel huh? I'd like to buy an 'E' for Express. Magnum? I will probably never shoot a 3" shell in my life but all my 870's are Magnums. Weird.
I can't wait to check it out. I have been considering a 26" barrel myself.
Congratulations. Let me know when you want "break it in".

PS. How was the selection? I have not been there is awhile.

Jamie Young
August 3, 2002, 03:26 AM
Well you'd be a good contestant on "Wheel of Fortune."

Yeah I got a 26 Express Magnum. I saw quite a few 870s up there. I had the choice between a 20in rifled sights, 28 wingmaster, and the 26in Express Magnum. The 20inch had a much better stock, but I need this gun for dove later this month. 28in felt a little too long and the 26 felt just about right. The stock needs a little fitting though.

August 5, 2002, 10:22 AM
I went with a Marine Mag with the 20" IC barrel... then added a 100 dollar 28" remchoke barrel at a gunshow... (came with Mod. choke) and then a couple other tubes... (Full and Super Full Turkey)

I bought the gun used for $200, the barrel and 1 tube for $100, and the other 2 tubes and a wrench for $50... $350 in the whole setup... and I too have used the shorty barrel for skeet and trap...